Limonium auriculae-ursinifolium   Broad-leaved Sea-lavender RRR DDD N

Limonium auriculae-ursinifolium Limonium auriculae-ursinifolium

This photograph was taken with the apology for a telephoto lens which fits my Olympus C3040Z which in 2004 was state of the art digital camera. We had been given a 10 figure OS reference for this site and were keen to find the plant on our one and only trip to Jersey. Having found the L. normannicum at St Ouens in flower, we assumed this one would be in a similar state. Eventually we found the cliff-top path from which the directions pointed down a very steep, hardly used path, through waist-high bracken to a peninsula. At the bottom were various gorges, gullies and steep slopes all of which might have this plant growing on them.

I took my faithful Garmin e-Trex (Satellite positioning gismo) to take a reading and try to relate it to both the the Jersey map and the written directions. This wasn't straightforward as the British Grid didn't work on Guernsey or Jersey. I used the MGRS (Military Grid Reference system) and had previously calculated a correction which seemed to work for all our sites on Guernsey.  Incidentally I found this MGRS most appropriate as hunting for plants on this holiday felt as though it could well have been organised by the S.A.S.

At first we could find places where only one set of co-ordinates would tally exactly. Eventually we found that the adjusted co-ordinates seemed to be getting closer to the reference in our instructions but we were moving towards a cliff edge on the opposite side of the promontory where we had been advised to look. Finally, we found a place where the 10 figure reference indicated by the GPS differed by only one digit from the instructions! - a coincidence because it isn't that precise a tool.

It was then we realised that the co-ordinates were not of the plant itself but of the only place from which you could see it. For there, on the opposite cliff face, nestling under a north-facing rocky overhang, was a collection of non-flowering rosettes of the Limonium were were seeking. Access, it said in the blurb, is difficult.  Let me tell you that the access was for lucky fools with abseilling equipment  - assuming they could find some non crumbly rock on which to fix the rope.

So these awful photos are as good as it gets. I am afraid I didn't go back to see it flower in August and even if I had, abseilling for a Limonium species which will probably be reclassified as a variety in a few years by a coven of taxonomists isn't really my idea of fun.

L. auriculae-ursinifolium occurs in one site on the mainland and two on Jersey and that's it. One day I might return with a modern camera able to take photos at such a distance but probably not.

Pleinmont Point, Jersey, 21st June 2004

Added on January 5th 2005, updated 27th June 2010, updated 12th April 2015

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