Raphanus raphanistrum ssp. maritimus Brassicaceae Sea Radish

Flower Fruit In landscape Theba pisana Andrena agilissima

Raphanus raphanistrum maritimus 14kb

Description. - A large, straggling plant, often more than 1m in height, covered in a cloud of pale yellow flowers in May and June. Each flower is typically cruciform, as seen in most of the Brassicaceae, and there is often obvious veining on the petals. Occasionally a plant has white flowers. These are followed by a hard pod with a beaded appearance due to constrictions between each seed. When young and still relatively soft these pods can be eaten, and used in salads, having a very hot radish-like flavour. Leaves are toothed and pinnate, and covered in coarse bristles.

Habitat. - Common all around the coasts, and can be found inland on waste ground. It thrives in poor, sandy soil, and can cope with drought conditions.

Comments. - This plant is the ancestor of our garden radish. Underground it has a swollen root, but it is very woody, and thus inedible. For some reason, some people think this plant makes our coasts look very untidy, and would wish it to be cut down, but many others can see its beauty, not to mention its attraction to many insects, and possibly shelter for small mammals and birds at times. In the past herbicides were used on it, resulting in wide swathes of coastal grassland looking burnt and dead for the rest of the summer. However, pressure from La Société Guernesiaise and the fact that huge numbers of snails (Theba pisana) that often populate the stems all migrated inland into gardens, greenhouses and vegetable patches, means that this is no longer done. Many insects visit the flowers. Among them is a common, large, black, solitary bee Andrena agilissima that is not found esewhere in the British Isles.



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