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.