Felixstowe home to rare plant

IT'S far from beautiful, and it smells revolting – but help is needed to protect one of Britain's rarest plants.The aptly-named stinking goosefoot only grows at three places in the country, and one of those is Landguard Nature Reserve at Felixstowe.

IT'S far from beautiful, and it smells revolting – but help is needed to protect one of Britain's rarest plants.

The aptly-named stinking goosefoot only grows at three places in the country, and one of those is Landguard Nature Reserve at Felixstowe.

Now help is needed to ensure the plant – which is protected by law – continues to grow and thrive there, and a volunteer working party is being set up to help spread its seeds to increase the number of plants.

Landguard education ranger Malte Iden said: "The stinking goosefoot is one of Britain's rarest plants.


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"It does not have conspicuous flowers but it does have a strong revolting smell that is usually described as being like rotting fish.

"Everybody is welcome to come to the volunteer work party and help with work vital to protect this plant."

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The plant's seeds only germinate in May following soil disturbance and so the working party will be required to dig up the area where it grows.

Additional help is also needed to repair the fencing which protects the plants from rabbits.

The working party is being held on Saturday April 20 from 9.30am to lunchtime. People interested in helping can phone 01394 673782 for further information.

The 58-acre Landguard reserve, Suffolk's most southernly point, a mostly shingle spit next to Felixstowe port, is managed by Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

It is home to more than 375 different species of plants and in spring is a carpet of colour peppered with butterflies.

One-third of all British grasses grow there, and other rare plants include sea pea and kales and the yellowhorned poppy.

Stinking goosefoot – real name chenopodium vulvaria – grows on the landward edges of shingle beaches and has been cooked and eaten in the past. It is nutritious, but not for people with arthritis, gout, kidney stones or kidney stones.

It has for many centuries also thought to have contained medicinal qualities and its leaves were used in the treatment of hysteria and nervous troubles connected with women's ailments.

It was also supposed even to cure barrenness and in certain cases, the mere smelling of its foetid odour was held to afford relief.

One ounce of the dried herb in a pint of boiling water, taken three or four times daily in wineglassful doses, was used as a remedy for menstrual obstructions.

WEBLINKS: www.landguard.com

www.wildlifetrust.org.uk/suffolk

www.botanical.com

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