Plants of Birling Gap
The mix of habitats provides plenty of opportunities for wild flowers some common others rare, what can you find?
Bacon and Eggs
Bacon and eggs Is one of the many local names for Birds-foot trefoil, a very common plant. It is an important nectar source and food plant of many insects including the common blue butterfly.
As a perennial plant it can form dense mats which are most obvious in May especially in the meadow by the car park at Birling Gap when the whole field is full of yellow flowers.
No longer common
Pheasant’s eye is an old arable weed that needs disturbance and ploughing to germinate. Over recent decades herbicides have led to a massive decline in its range around the country.
But at Crowlink the plant manages to survive in rabbit disturbed pasture especially around their warrens. It can be very difficult to find as it is small but once seen it is not forgotten.
Salt Tolerant and Beautiful
Tree Mallow is a very striking native shrubby plant that tolerates the salty conditions found around the car park at Birling Gap. It survives by expelling salt through glands on its shiny leaves.
It is a mostly biennial or perennial plant and a lot of the individuals at Birling Gap are a few years in age and seen to be thriving. It has beautiful pinkish-purple petals with an indigo centre and has a very distinctive look.