Sunday, 28 January 2007

Winter Heliotrope

Despite a life long interest in natural history I've always found botany hard to get to grips with. With this in mind I was quite excited to find a patch of a plant in flower in January. Unfortunately when I had it identification confirmed be a friend who knows his daisies from his buttercups I was disappointed to find out that this handsome plant, Winter Heliotrope, Petasites fragrans, is an introduced species from Africa and due to its vigorous nature it is a problem because it shades out our native species. Now, as with the Grey Squirrel, this dislike of "foreign" species isn't xenophobia but a concern for a the damage they do to an already stressed eco-system.

1 comment:

brian in the tamar valley said...

Hi. I was interested to read your comment about winter heliotrope being an introduced species. Here in the east of Cornwall it isn't everywhere but where it does occur it is very prolific and indeed does crowd out other flowers. I tend to find that it is the first flower of the year. I guess that the fact that it is sporadic but does shade out other species is a sign of it being an alien. I hadn't thought about that before!