Monday, April 19

The Luccombe jam man and other tales

Just back from a glorious weekend in the Isle of Wight, in my humble opinion one of the south's best kept secrets.

Highlights included the traditional visit to the jam table, aka the Luccombe jam man who keeps his stall on the Ventnor-Shanklin coastal path fully stocked with jam, marmalade and pickled onions, and an honesty box for payment.

We also enjoyed a walk around Hamstead, Bouldnor and Shalfleet, which gave great views across the Solent and included some very interesting marshes which were mostly crossed by extensive boardwalks.

Walking around Arreton Down in the central part of the island we came across lots of these peculiar plants which were just showing their heads above the grass.

I'm surprisingly knowledgeable about plants and birdsong and all that (thanks mum!) but this was my first sighting of the fertile stems of horsetail. Horsetail is a very primitive plant, distinctive in its appearance and one which reproduces by the use of spores, like fungi, rather than seeds. These stems had powdery spores all around the rather phallic heads. The green, branched non-fertile stems grow separately.


Nicola said...

Ooh - now I know what the vaguely disturbing plants I saw loads of on the walk up to Stowe Landscape Gardens were! Thanks!

colleen said...

Now I've learnt something. Never realised those plants were horse tails.

Islands - can't beat 'em.

Probably Jane said...

You're making me homesick! Not with the horsetails, however - my father's gardening year is a one man battle with the blighters - they are virtually indestructable - no wonder they have survived so long....