Hornungia petraea   Hutchinsia R DD N

Hornungia petraea whole Hornungia petraea flower

This plant flowers early in Spring and is a well known as an "ephemeral". This means that you can return to the site in say June where you found many growing and flowering in March or April to find no trace it was ever there. It tends to like rocky ground in limestone areas and these specimens were found on limestone spoil near small old quarries which face the sea. Hutchinsia is named after the Irish botanist Ellen Hutchins (1785 to 1815) who made great progress in the discovery and understanding of lichens and mosses in the area of Bantry bay where she lived.

Hornungia petraea can be found in South Wales, on the Great Orme, in the Derbyshire white peak and on some North English limestones but only rarely elsewhere. It isn't obvious though why it is plentiful on the screes of the Great Orme for instance but isn't found on the quite suitable limestones of North Lancashire and South Cumbria.

The Great Orme, North Wales 21st April 2006

Added on 19th April 2006, new photos 21st April 2006, updated 9th April 2009, updated 7th April 2010, updated 7th July 2014

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