Wildflower hour-Winter heliotrope

From my New Years plant hunt I found winter heliotrope. It apparently favours damp spots such as river banks, damp meadows and woodland. I found it on a cliff edge with strong winds, so there you go.

It has small mauve flowers, rather delicate in nature. It apparently has a pleasant vanilla scent, but Alice on my back I didn’t go close enough to check. It can be grown in the garden, but can quickly become a pest as it spreads vigorously. As a non-native invasive species much of the advice on it is connected in to other plants considered pests such as bindweed and Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsalm. It spreads by rhizomes (underground stems) spreading out to form clumps of leaves out competing other native species.  It flowers November until February, while the foliage is evergreen remaining all year.

Winter heliotrope

Originally from North Africa it spread through Europe before making its way to Britain. It was introduced formally in 1806 grown as an ornamental in gardens and some churchyards. So far only the male form is present in Britain.

So looks like I’ve gone for another non-native invasive species. I need to try an find something native for future. Advice is given here should you wish to remove it from your garden.

If you haven’t checked out the proposed nature book swap check out the blog. Looking for expressions of interest until Next weekend when I will look at sending out details for people to swap books.

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