12th Day: Strapwort

Much as I did for mousetail, I gloried in the inconsequence of strapwort. When it was revealed to us that the rare plant we’d been looking for had been pretty much under our feet all along (whoops!), hugging the shingle in the most unobtrusive fashion imaginable, all I could do was give a heartfelt, joyous laugh.

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Here to me is all that is wonderful about conservation in Britain summed up in a single plant. Strapwort is not uncommon in other parts of the world, but in the UK it is only found along the shores of Slapton Ley in Devon (perhaps it should be called ‘slapwort’!?). Nonetheless enough people are concerned about keeping it here that several conservation projects have been dedicated to strapwort, most recently a successful attempt to propagate plants at Paignton Zoo before reintroducing them onto the shores of the Ley.

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Days, weeks, months, years of thought, concern and labour. All for a slinking, creeping green mat with flowers so tiny they hardly register. Isn’t that beautiful? May the spirit of strapwort dwell in all of us throughout 2015 and for evermore.

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