Unfortunately my phone camera has failed on me so the photos I took of various plants on Bristol harbourside yesterday as part of my fourth day of ’20 Days Wild’ are gone forever (or at least beyond my capacities as a technologist to resuscitate them). My record will therefore have to suffice from my memory and the few images I have borrowed off google images (source credited). One of the things I find fascinating about the wildlife of towns and cities is that much of it is immigrant in nature, much like myself currently living in Bristol, which was a foreign land to me just a few years ago. Many of the flowering plants found on the harbourside have escaped from people’s gardens, blown by the wind and germinated in the shallow soil between the crevices of the stone and paving slabs. Some have their origins in countries far away, having made their way to the UK gradually, spreading their roots across the world.
One such example is Mexican Fleabane (Erigeron karvinskianus), originally from Mexico as the name suggests. It grows in large clumps on the harbourside walls, delighting passers by with its bright, eye catching colours. It’s rather like a pink daisy but more varied in its appearance.Above: Mexican Fleabane by Bob Osborn
Also present on the harbourside is the rather dark and deadly Hemlock Water Dropwort (Oenanthe crocata), which is incredibly toxic and should be avoided. It has large, umbrella like flowers, looking rather like cow parsley, to which it is related. It is fairly common on the harbour but do not take this silent killer lightly!Wiki source.
Another sighting includes the bellflower family (Campanula), one of my personal favourites across the city. They are present in pockets all over the place and brighten the streets with their deep purples and blues.
Above: Bellflowers (Campanula) credit Charlotte Packer.
My final choice is Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber) which, despite its name, can be red, pink or white. It is sometimes called ‘kiss me quick’ or ‘fox’s brush’ and is a garden escapologist. It can be found commonly in the harbour walls.
Above: Red Valerian in south Devon. Credit: Ella Johnston