Is This The Only Pasqueflower At Martin Down?

April 5, 2021

A beautiful pasqueflower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) at Martin Down, on the Hampshire/Dorset border. Photo taken April 2021.

2021 – A beautiful and rare pasqueflower plant growing at Martin Down.

Background

For the last two years (2019 and 2020) I have been photographing a pasqueflower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) at Martin Down, on the Hampshire/Dorset border. During that time I have only ever found the same plant, although reports on the Web show there used to be a few more specimens here.

Well, I am pleased to report that in April 2021 that same, solitary, pasqueflower is still thriving at Martin Down. The good news is that I have also found six more plants!

Pasqueflower plant (Pulsatilla vulgaris) at Martin Down, on the Hampshire/Dorset border. Photo taken April 2021.

My first visit to Martin Down in 2021

It was a bitterly cold and rather overcast day when I arrived at the Nature Reserve and a chill wind raged, threatening to batter the delicate, purple blooms before they had even fully opened. I could, of course, have chosen a different day to visit, but sunshine causes its own problems when taking photos, especially where this plant grows. I also prefer to take my photos when there is nobody else around.

I have to say that the single plant that I have been following for the last two years never seems to be particularly photogenic. The other plants that I have found this year are a different matter – much more attractive in terms of compositional possibilities.

Pasqueflower plant (Pulsatilla vulgaris) at Martin Down, on the Hampshire/Dorset border. Photo taken April 2021.

A second visit to Martin Down… more pasqueflowers!

Today (14th April) I made another visit to see if I could find more pasqueflowers, having kindly been tipped off to wherebouts on Martin Down they have been found in the past. While looking, I met a group of walkers who were also looking for pasqueflowers.  By coincidence, one of them had seen my pasqueflower photos and she asked me if I was Lindsey, from M35 Photography by any chance (I am!), which was quite weird.

The group had found a couple of other pasqueflower plants, but one was a bud that looked as if it had suffered frost damage (see photo further down the page) and the other was a really, really tiny flower. Luckily, I was able to point them in the direction of the good specimens that I know about.

Pasqueflower at Martin Down. Photo taken April 2021.
Pasqueflowers growing at Martin Down. Photo taken April 2021.

The inside of a pasqueflower, when fully open, is a more vivid mauve/purple colour.

Frost damaged pasqueflower at Martin Down. Photo taken April 2021.

Frost damaged pasqueflower bud… still a thing of great beauty.

Pasqueflowers at Martin Down are becoming rarer

Already a nationally rare species, if you look at historical records the number of pasqueflowers at Martin Down has dwindled over the years. I really hope this trend doesn’t continue, because one day there won’t be any plants left, which would be a great tragedy. They are delightful little flowers, and so many people enjoy seeing them each year.

 

A beautiful pasqueflower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) at Martin Down, on the Hampshire/Dorset border. Photo taken April 2021.

Latest Blog Posts…

Dorset Pink Poppy Fields 2022

Dorset Pink Poppy Fields 2022

This year I had decided not to bother photographing any Dorset pink poppy fields. Having taken photos of opium poppies every year since 2015, I simply felt that I’d had my fill.

read more
Dorset Henbane – Rare, Poisonous & Vulnerable

Dorset Henbane – Rare, Poisonous & Vulnerable

Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger) has got to be one of the weirdest looking plants there is, certainly in this country. Not only that, it’s highly poisonous, smells sickly sweet and only flowers biennially (every two years). Once seen, never forgotten.

read more
Dorset’s Wild Orchids 2022

Dorset’s Wild Orchids 2022

We are lucky in Dorset because we have what is possibly the best site for early spider-orchids in the UK. Ophrys sphegodes is also the first orchid to flower each year, heralding the start of the ‘orchid season.’ This year, I also found a woodcock orchid x Fly orchid hybrid, growing on a steep, Dorset hillside.

read more