Gentiana verna   Spring Gentian RRR DD N

Gentiana verna Burren Gentiana verna Teesdale

We found this beautiful Gentian in almost all the places we stopped to search the Burren limestone pavement. It grew on the grassy areas between the limestone blocks, on grassy banks even, to our astonishment, in marshland with coarse vegetation competing. The group on the L.H.S. was found on a sunny bank and has started to open after rain.

I first found this Gentian growing by the tarmac road alongside Cow Green Reservoir in Teesdale so on a rather dull day we set off to see if it was in flower some 15 years later. The forecast was miserable for the UK as a whole but slightly better for this North Eastern area of the country.

As we descended into Teesdale the sun broke through and I thought our luck might be in. Soon dark clouds gathered and by the time we had parked the car by the main Cow Green Reservoir car park a cold wind has started and rain threatened. In spite of this we soon found all the plants we had hoped to see. Gentiana verna (Spring Gentian on RHS) was plentiful and in sheltered spots opened out. I estimate that this year, after a winter with hardly any frost, the first plants would have been in flower around April 10th 2007.

The other specialties: Viola rupestris (Teesdale Violet), Primula farinosa (Bird's-eye Primrose) and Sesleria caerulea (Blue-moor Grass) were also dotted here and there.

Gentiana verna has occasionally been recorded in small numbers in Scotland and the Midlands but its only native habitats are Teesdale and The Burren in Ireland.

LHS: Nr. River Caher, near Fanore, Burren Coast, Ireland 21st May 2005 RHS: Cow Green reservoir, Teesdale 24th April 2007

Added on 24th May 2005, amended 27th April 2007, updated 23rd January 2009, amended 2nd April 2010, updated 15th Nov 2014

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