Chicory, Crabs and Small Magpie


An evening stroll which started late (a few moments after Spain beat Portugal and booked their place in the quarter finals of the World Cup). The evening before had brought thunderstorms and some heavy rain – quite welcome after the prolonged dry spell we’ve had. There was still some blue in the sky – and some dramatic clouds – but the sun had already set and I would be once again taking photos in the dark.

The verge along cove road has been entirely colonised by tall blue-flowered plants…

I’m not familiar with this plant, and I’ve struggled a bit with my various wildflower guides. They may be chicory – the flowers apparently close, as these have, when the sun is not shining. This is the chicory whose roots are used to flavour some coffees. (Although one of my books says seeds rather then roots.) If it is chicory, I should have plenty of chances to go back to see the flowers open since it has a very long flowering season.

I don’t drink coffee these days (still love the smell though), but I never did like chicory blends. How’s this for an unusual use of a herb (quoted in Hatfield’s Herbal).

For a Woman that hath great breasts

Oftentimes anoint her Paps with the juice of Succory, it will make them round and hard: If they be hanging or bagging, it will draw them together, whereby they shall seem like the Paps of a Maid.

Succory is an old name for chicory. This may all be a bit premature given that I’m not actually sure that this is chicory. I’m feeling reasonably confident since I took a photo of the leaves:

Which are toothed and higher up clasp the stems, which fits with chicory.

Post sunset cove sky.

Along a tide-line at the top of the shingle I noticed that there were many small crab carcasses and lots of hopping insects.

On the clifftop I noticed a plant with clusters of small white flowers and fine feathery leaves. I can’t identify it and hope to go back soon to get some better photos.

On the Lots, the grass was parched and yellow, except in the hollows which were little oases of green dotted with buttercups and white clover flowers.

At the far side of the Lots I noticed a moth flapping about. When it settled on a bramble flower I decided to have another go with the flash on my camera(previous attempts have not been very successful).

This is the micro-moth the small magpie.

A larger moth fluttered past but wouldn’t settle to be photographed, but this bumblebee couldn’t have been more settled – I couldn’t decide whether it was feeding or sleeping very comfortably on a bramble flower mattress.

Chicory, Crabs and Small Magpie

2 thoughts on “Chicory, Crabs and Small Magpie

  1. Helen Rushton says:

    I’ve been looking for the identity of the mysterious blue flowered plant, but wasn’t convinced it was chicory from guides, but I didn’t have a clear picture of the leaves. Thanks to your photo of the leaves I found it may be Blue Lettuce, Lactuca floridana, rather than chicory. Hope you like this info.
    Best Regards.

  2. beatingthebounds says:

    Thanks Helen.
    Are we talking about the same patch on Cove Road? The leaves are definitely wrong for Chicory, although I think I read somewhere that cultivated varities have leaves more like this (sadly I can’t remember where I read this). I can’t find Blue Lettuce in any of my books and internet searches seem to lead to a coupl eof quite different plants, one of which looks right, but which isn’t native. So – clear as mud then.

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