Pale marsh­mal­low thrives in ditches

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kent Business Update -

A cou­ple of weeks ago the BBC filmed some pieces for a new pro­gramme at the won­der­ful Fair­field Church, Rom­ney Marsh. One of the top­ics they did was on the na­tion­ally scarce plant marsh­mal­low which grows in the edges of ditches across the Marsh.

With a pale pink flower, the plant grows up to 4ft high and the leaves are dusky green and soft to touch. It does very well seed­ing all over my gar­den, so it is not al­ways fussy in its re­quire­ments. How­ever, na­tion­ally its habi­tat is coastal graz­ing and arable land­scapes which have had some brack­ish in­flu­ence over time. In Kent there is a pop­u­la­tion on the Med­way, but the strong­hold is across the Rom­ney Marsh.

The fas­ci­nat­ing as­pect of this plant is that it is the ori­gin of the sweet marsh­mal­lows where they used the roots of the plant. The roots look like whitish baby car­rots and with the starch, sug­ars and a mu­cilage which breaks down when soaked in wa­ter – this was the orig­i­nal marsh­mal­low sweet.

If you look up the plant in ref­er­ence books, you will see that over the cen­turies the marsh­mal­low has been used for reme­dies for ail­ments, in par­tic­u­lar for skin con­di­tions, help­ing sore throats and di­ges­tive is­sues, due to the thick mu­cilage and sooth­ing prop­er­ties.

For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact Owen Leyshon, Rom­ney Marsh Coun­try­side Part­ner­ship, tele­phone 01797 367934 or log on to www.rmcp.co.uk

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