Bathed in blue

Landscape (UK) - - Our Landscape -

Spring­ing up in tufts on coastal grass­lands and cliff edges, sheep’s bit, Ja­sione mon­tana, can be seen at its best from June un­til Au­gust. This hardy, low-grow­ing flower is com­monly spot­ted in Corn­wall and Wales along­side pink thrift and but­ter-yel­low gorse. The semi-spher­i­cal heads are made up of a mul­ti­tude of fivepetall­ed flo­rets, in shades of faded blue. Rich in nec­tar, they are fre­quently vis­ited by bees and but­ter­flies. They are also favoured by sheep, from which they take their com­mon name. Sheep’s bit can be mis­taken for devil’s bit scabi­ous as they look sim­i­lar, but the former is smaller, and tends to grow in very dif­fer­ent con­di­tions. Whereas devil’s bit scabi­ous is of­ten found in damp marshes and moor­land, sheep’s bit prefers full sun­shine and the dry, sandy con­di­tions found along the coast.

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