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Plants found on the South Devon coastline

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The South Devon coastline provides a great variety of plant life, especially along Bigbury Bay. Some of the plants you will find are the common valerian, wild carrot, bloody cranesbill, carrot broomrape, bucks horn plantain and thrift. Of course you do also get your seasonal plants like daffodils that you find across the UK. The rockier parts of the coast host many different types of lichen.

Common or Red Valerian:

The red valerian is an upright plant that has a red/pink flower that reaches a maximum height of 1.5m. It has a hairy stem with leafs coming in pairs. The leaves at the bottom of the plant have a stem but the further up the plant you go the less of a stem they have. The flower has a curved tube that has a pouch at the bottom. The stamen and the style extend beyond this flower tube. It flowers between June and August. Its fruit has in rolled sepals protecting it, and when it is ripe these sepals form a feathery parachute for seed dispersal.

Wild Carrot:

The wild carrot is an ancestor of the carrot is an upright plant with carroty smelling thick roots and very well divided leaves. It grows to about 90cm and flowers in June to August. It has a haired stem that is ridged or lined. The central flower is normally purple-red and the other flowers are white with un-equal sized petals. The fruit of the wild carrot is flattened but has multiple spines on the ridged surface. These attach themselves to passing animals for seed dispersal. When raining the fruiting head concaves, crowding its branches together.

Bloody Cranesbill:

The Bloody Cranesbill is a beautiful native flower that has pink flowers. It grows to about 20cm and has a spread of 30cm. This plant flowers from June until August with five petals but unlike other flowers its petals overlap each other on only one side. This plant is a species of the Geranium and can produce multiple varieties of its kind. They have a hairy stem with lots of branches and five segmented hairy leaves. It has thick rhizomatous roots that slowly spread but they don’t invade.


Common Broomrape is a leafless plant that has a singular stem with long pointed yellowish / red tinged petals. The stem is covered in glandular hairs. It’s a plant that commonly grows on broom (sometimes gorse is its host) giving its name broomrape. It can grow to about 90cm and flowers in May – June. They plant is all brown due to the lack of chlorophyll.

Sea Plantain:

This plant also has pink flowers but it has very thin slender leaves with just one or two teeth. Its leaves have short hairs that are scattered randomly across the leave. The pinkish flowers have four whitish sepals, with a green centre and four brownish petals. They have very long yellow stamens that stick well out of the flowers. The Sea Plantain is one of the only plants that can survive in slat-marshes.


Thrift is a woody stemmed plant that has reddish pink rosette flowers and fleshy leaves. They are common around the coast and in salt-marshes and pastures across Britain. Its flower is honey-scented to attract pollinators. This plant can withstand high salinity and dry landscape due to its long roots that reach areas that has a constant supply of water. Each flower has a bract that sheathes the flower. These sheathes are normally green on the outermost flowers.


Lichen is an organism that has a symbiotic relationship consisting of a fungus and a photosynthetic growth mechanism.  The species found on the Hope Cove coastline is that called crustose Lichen, because it forms a crust on hard sufaces. It is normally yellow but can be grey or green. There are different species of lichen and are therefore found in different habitats. Some you may find on tree branches (green and leaf like), some you will find on hard surfaces (rocky shoreline-yellow) and some you will find in a shrub form (covering the ground). You may see all three types of lichen but the most common is the crustose lichen. Lichen exist in habitats where there is not a lot of competition for sunlight and are sometimes the first species found in areas with no soil (i.e. beaches). Lichens can exist in these habitats due to the fact that they dont need a constant supply of water and therefore dont have roots. Many Lichen species can reproduce both sexually and asexually.



There are many walks along the coast around hope cove including a beautiful walk to Salcombe around Bolt Tail. Many scenic walks are accessible from The Cottage Hotel and are enjoyed by all our guests. So book your holiday now so you can enjoy our scenery too.