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Mike's Blog - Day 80

Another Rock Rose, not a Cistus this time (Day 78) but a Helianthemum.

And in close-up.

This is a native one and part of the collection of plants in our Magnesian limestone flora collection. This rock rose is a key plant for a local butterfly, the “Durham Argus”, its caterpillars feed on it. We once grew about 2000 of these plants to add to the plant populations along the coast to help increase the numbers of this butterfly.

We built this outcrop about 10 years ago so we could show some of the wildflowers that grow in the Magnesian limestone outcrops in Co. Durham. Most of these are local or national nature reserves. Thrislington and Bishop Middleham (see pic on poster for Bishop Middleham) quarry are good ones, worth a trip if you have never been, probably quiet places to go too.

Bishop Middleham is where the rare Bee-eater bird turned up years ago and caused quite a stir with local ornithologists. Plant hunters will be looking for bee orchids and dark red helleborine.

There is a list here of the sites to visit:

https://www.dur.ac.uk/botanic.garden/whatshere/maglime/.

(Some of the links might not work anymore but it’s a list anyway).