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!

08 April, 2014

Danish scurveygrass: life in the fast lane

Scurvygrass will be well known by name, if not by sight, as we all learn about Nelson, the history of the Navy, tots of rum and the scurvy when we are at junior school, it is part of our heritage! Scurvy was associated with sailors in the 16th to 18th centuries who spent long periods at sea without enough vitamin C in their diet and so frequently perished from the condition. It was believed that eating
scurvygrass was a way to avoid this as it has a high vitamin C content. Modern cases of scurvy are extremely rare.
There are three species of scurvygrass found in Britain and by far the most common, and this is true of Dorset, is Danish scurvygrass (Cochlearia danica). It is also known as early scurveygrass as it can flower from January right through until September.
It is a plant usually found around our coasts and especially on salt marshes as it has a high tolerance to salt. In recent times, though, it has become common along our main roads benefiting from the salting that the council does in winter to keep our roads free from ice and from the draft from passing high speed traffic spreading its seed along the road. It is apparently common on the central reservations of our motorways although this is perhaps not the best place to look for it!
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