If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

02 May, 2010

Chalk Milkwort (Polygala calcarea)

The short turf on the cliff tops of the chalky Dorset coast are now showing patches of this delightful little plant, Chalk Milkwort.

Whilst Milkwort is quite easy to identify, separating the three British species is not so easy! The differences are quite small and it takes a good botanist to spot the minor variations between them.

For the lesser botanist like me then habitat is the best guide but certainly not the most accurate. In general however, Chalk Milkwort grows amongst short turf on chalk in southern England; Heath Milkwort ... yes, grows on acid soils and especially heathland and is common on the Dorset heaths and elsewhere it is likely to be Common Milkwort! Common Milkwort does also occur on the chalk as well as heathland though!

Just to add to the "interest" Heath Milkwort is also known as Thyme-leaved Milkwort. Not only that, all the species occur frequently in a mauve colour as well as the lovely true blue, quite often growing quite close to each other.

Regardless of which of the species it is, in my opinion it is well worth getting down on your knees to have a closer look at.