Just some of the flora and fauna that can be found at Minack and Oliver land. Only images marked with a copyright symbol at the side of the plant name were taken on site. If you are happy to share and have an image of any of the other plants found at Minack and Oliver land please drop us line sending the photo, giving the date and location and we will be happy to add it to the site. We aim to have photos of all the flora and fauna with their locations over time. We also encourage you to submit your findings to Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Please see our page on this, where you will find details of what to do.
Lichens are non-parasitic and don’t harm any plants they grow on. In fact, they’re useful to other wildlife, offering nesting material for birds, and food and shelter to lots of invertebrates - which in turn feed other creatures. Woods rich in lichens support more wildlife than any other. Lichens are also sensitive to pollution and can highlight the quality of the surrounding air.
Thistles are biennial meaning that they form a basal rosette in the first year before bolting and flowering in the second. The tubers combined with nettle tops and a few other wild ingredients create the most delicious and hearty soup. Please note it is against the law to uproot any wild plants without the land owner’s consent.
Common cross coastal areas in the south and south east of UK. It favours dry rocky places such as old stone walls and quarries. It is a plant that is now being used in 'green housing'. It is attractive to bees and hoverflies as well as ants.
The most familiar of violets. A perennial wildflower that grows in a range of habitats, grassland, hedgerows and pastures. Pansy like in appearance flowers appear from April to June. Although in Cornwall its slightly earlier in March. The Fritillary Butterfly feeds on the violet.
An evergreen climbing plant that can grow to nearly 100 feet high and will also grow as groundcover. This one in Oliver land was doing both! An important plant for wildlife the fruit ripen in late winter and are imporant food source for birds, but don't you eat it. They are poisonous to us, although extracts from the leaves are part of current cough medicines.
Similar to 'Yorkshire fog', this grass is common throughout mainland Britain. It is a perennial
The aphid Schizaphis Holci which was considered rare in UK. However, suction traps have found that they are likely to be more common since 2000. The eggs hatch around May, and the young instars live inside the hollow reeds of the grass, where they are safe from weather and natural elements. The colonies are often but not always attended by ants.
This plant has tested us even after asking three other very keen and expert gardeners /wildflower experts. So we are hedging a bet that it's a Lesser Celadine. If it isn't please do drop us an email to correct us. It is a low growing perennial that likes damp ground and flowers February to May. I found it growing along the celebration path on the far side of Oliver land. It is considered an invasive species but also has medicinal values but only in dried form. William Wordsworth was fond of it and it inspired him to write three poems.
Walking the coastal path in Spring and a swathe of white blossom will greet you, cross both Minack and Oliver land, as the Blackthorn spring into life before bearing the fruits many of us know as 'sloes'. If you have ever had Sloe Gin it really is easy to make your own at home.
The trees grow to around 6-7metres with twigs growing out as sideshoots developing into the spiny thorns that make a group of trees an impenetrable barrier. The wood is excellent for making walking sticks and tool parts long with firewood. It is a valuable food source for bees, caterpillars, butterflies and birds alike.
Found in grasslands wth slender leaves and crimson /pink flowers in May and June. The leaves taste sour hence its other name 'Sour Dock'. It does not like waterlogged ground and is a perennial. Avergae seed per plant is 2,000. The height of this sorrel can be between 30cm and 80cm. The basal leaves point backwards unlike Sheep's Sorrel.
Not easy to spot. It only grows to a height of 3-12 cm. This delicate orchid with white blooms grow in a near perfect spiral around a short stem. Flowering from August to October. It enjoys heathland and grassland. It is an at risk plant due to agricultural intesification. It is pollinated by bees and bumblebees.
Spring flowering, with a sweet scent, consisting of 5-12 tubular violet-blue flowers. Grows in woodland and open habitat such as coastal meadows. They are rich in pollen and nectar and thus pollinated, mainly, by bumblebees.
It is protected under UK law. Picking the bulbs or seeds can result in a fine of £5,000.
Grows across the British Isles with fruits in late summer. A hardy plant sending out new shoots and can quickly overgrow an space in weeks. An important food source for the larvae of butterfly and moths along with birds and mammals particularly blackbirds.
A wildflower also known as Star-of-Bethlehem and Wedding Cakes. It grows in hedgerows, on grassy banks, and in woodlands. The flowers bloom from April to June. The leaves are grass like in appearance and the stems are brittle and square. Honey bees, butterflies and hoverflies seek out the spring nectar from these flowers and is a food source for the Marsh pug, Plain clary and Yellow underwing moths.
A member of the pea family it is found in all kinds of grassy places, from coastal to heathland to downland. It flowers from May to September. The flowers look like little slippers and grow in clusters. Low growing plant with seed pods that look like bird's feet or claws.
It is an important food source for bees and caterpillars of the butterflies - common blue, silver -studded blue and wood white. The latter two species are classified as priority species under the Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.
Bracken is a fern, very successful coloniser which is widespread across western parts UK. It doesn't tolerate waterlogged soil but it has a vigorous growth with dense foliage that shades out all other vegetation. It is poisonous to stock and rabbits and causes a vitamin deficiency leading to staggers in horses. It is considered a human health hazard due to its carcinogenic spores and provides a habitat perfect for sheep ticks which transmit Lyme Disease. Yet is is a preferred habitat for whinchats and nightjars and has a close relationship with violets and fritilliary butterflies as well as Bluebells.
The Foxglove is a familiar sight in any hedgerow, grassland, heathland, roadside verges, waste ground, coastal areas.
It is a tall, biennial and perennial plant which can grow to 2 metres with a stem full of tubular flowers attracting bumblebees, moths and honeybees.
Usually flowering between May (if warm) to September. Mostly pink with the occasional white flowering plant.
Any part of the plant is poisonous. Ingestion can cause nausea, headaches and diarrohea.
Flowers from March to November, for longer in the Southwest if it's a mild winter. It's habitat is hedges, woodland, cliffs, grassland byt the sea, footpaths and rocks. It's a native perennial herb and grows to about 1metre.
A common sight across heathland, grassland, verges, hedgerows. All parts of the plant are edible with the leaves often used in salads and the flowers used for teas. Flowers January through December. There are many species of Dandelion. An important source of food for bees in the early spring. Also used by the larvae of some species of butterflies and moths.
Low growing, in heathland, clifftops, and grassy places, Clover Downs is one place to see it. Flowers from June to September. It is biennial plant that used to be used to help control fevers. It is also a natural meteorologist as it closes with an overcast sky or damp conditions.
Wood sage is a perennial deciduous plant that grows from June to August. Its leaves are similar to Sage with flowers that are pale yellow/green and attractive to pollinating insects. It does not have the same scent as Sage and is not a good cooking herb. It can be found on sandy soils, heaths and cliffs.
A relatively hardy climber, deciduous and with sweetly scented flowers which are fabulous for wildlife. Birds, moths, butterflies and bees all come to feed on the honeysuckle. It bears fruits in autumn which thrushes, warblers and bullfinches all eat. Dormice use this plant as a shelter as well as food source. Building nests from the bark for their young and feeding them the sweet nectar rich flowers. This variety can be invasive and is in the Honeysuckle Meadow.
Elderberry wine. jam, jelly and chutney can all be made from the fruits of this shrub/tree. Along with cordial from the flowers. Yet it is listed as poisonous to mammals. It can favour wet or dry locations, is deciduous and can grow as wide as it does tall. It is a nesting habitat for birds.
Common gorse is the most familiar usually growing sunny sites. It is the largest species and can reach heights of 2-3 metres. It flowers from early winter through to June, starting with a bright yellow flower, gradually becoming a deeper shade over time.The flowers have a coconut scent to them. It is an important shrub for birds and invertebrates but can be an invasive plant if left to its own devices. The birds are able to use its dense structure to take refuge in a harsh winter.
Also known as the May tree, as spring turns to summer it shoots forth pale green leaves and then pink blossom as it signals the change to summer. Hence the old saying 'cast ne'er a cout ere May is out'- in other words don't take your vest! or heavier clothing off till then.
It has thorny habit with the thorns appearing at the same point as the the buds thus distinguishing it from the blackthorn. The flowers are scented and once pollinated by the numerous insects form the familiar red berries known as 'haws'. A foodplant for caterpillars of moths, dormice, bees and other pollinating insects along with migrating birds such as fieldfares and thrushes and small mammals.
Not to be confused with the Goat willow the Grey willow has oval leaves that long and thin and are at least twice as long as they are wide.The bark is grey-brown and develops diamond fissure shapes as it ages. Twigs are hairy first and can appear red-yellow in sunlight. Catkins arrive early spring grey and stout and oval becoming yellow when ripe with pollen, while female catkins are longer and green. The foliage is eaten by moths and the purple emproer butterfly. The catkins provide an early source of pollen and nectar for bees and insects while the birds forage for caterpillars and insects.
It appears this plant has no known value to wildlife! However, it grows from May to September starting with bright green fronds unfurling and in autumn these turn bronze before it dies back. It likes damp and boggy ground. Its roots can be are used for osmunda fibre which is a growing medium for orchids.
The Common Reed is a perennial which grows from creeping rhizomes and can grow to a height of 2-4 metres. It has tall, hollow, golden stems and when it flowers, from August to Pctober, these are large feathery flower spikes, appearing dark purple but fading to brown as the 'spikelets' grow bristles. Its an important plant to Bittern, Marsh Harrier and Bearded Tit. It is also used as a thatching material.
Low growing, in heathland, clifftops, and grassy places, coastal areas. A pretty fluffy looking flower it is very popular with a range of insects, bees, flies, wasps, butterf;ies, moths and beetles. Flowers from May to September
Dodder is a parastic plant with no roots. It wraps itself around a plant such as Gorse or heathers, such as Bell Heather. It's a tangled mass of slender reddy-coloured threads with tiny pale pink clustered bell shaped flowers. Whilst it lives off the entangled host it doesn't kill it. It has a heavy scent and bees and wasps are attracted to it along with the Gatekeeper butterflies.
Bell Heather is found in heathland, open woodland and coastal areas. Dark purple to pink flowers bloom from July to September and with it bees, in particular honeybees, Buff-tailed and red-tailed bumblebees along with insects enjoy the nectar. Honey from this heather is dark and fragrant.
Low growing, in heathland and moorland. It has yellow flowers from May to September and looks like a buttercup but only has four petals unlike buttercup which has five. It is a perennial plant that belongs to the rose family. It is favoured by bees and butterflies. Used in medicine for ulcers and sores as well as for diarrohea. The roots can be used in the manufacture of a red dye for artists.
A pereennial that likes open ground, short grassland. It flowers from May through to Spetember and like Common Sorrel is wind pollinated, having a similar stems. Average seed per plant is 1,000. Rabbits will feed on this sorrel. It is smaller than Common Sorrel growing to a height of approximately 30cm (1ft)
Perennial rye grass is a tufted grass usually seen at roadside edges, rough pastures and waste ground. It grows to a height of 50cm and is a tough native grass. It flowers from May through summer. It is a forage crop for livestock. Rye grass seeds are a source of food for birds and small mammals and is available in late winter making it particular valuable when other sources of seed food has been exhausted.
Always searching for a four leaf clover?
The clover is a creeeping annual which grows in gardens, roadsides, meadows and parks. The trefoil leaves are collected by Wood Mice. It flowers from May through to October. bumble bees seek it out with Clover honey being the result.
The Common Blue butterfly also feeds from this plant.
As a child I can recall chewing grass, along with friends, and its likely this was the one as it has a sweet vanilla like taste.
It is a perennial of grasslands and meadows, flowering between April and July. Dense clusters of flowers forming cylindrical flower spikes on top of stiff stems. If you suffer from hayfever it is not a grass for you. It is a food source for the larvae of the brown and skipper butterflies
A flower that can be confused with four other like plants - Fool's Parsely. Wild Carrot and Hemlock and why children were told it was called 'Mummy die' to deter them from potentially picking deadly hemlock!
It has a magnificent spray of white flowers usually - April to June.
It is a valuable early source of pollen to bees and hoverflies, food for the moth, Agonopteris heracliana and nectar for orange-tip butterflies. It is useful as a mosquito repellent but we wouldn't suggest picking for the same reason as given to children! Just in case!