As I walked along the coastal footpath at the start of July the air was full of the scent of roses. They were the Japanese Rose (Rosa rugosa) which is now well established in the Sefton Dunes.
Other alien species or garden escapees that added colour were the Poppy, Lupin and Red Hot Poker.
Amongst the dunes I spotted the pink flowers of Seaside Centaury, or was it the Common Centaury?. Common Centaury (Centaurium erythraea) has stems that trifurcate at every junction with a pair of opposite leaves just below the junction. A single flower sits at the end of each pair of square stalks and the flowers close in the afternoon.
Seaside Centaury (Centaurium littorale) has leaves that are strap like with parallel sides. The two varieties easily hybridise to become Centaurium x intermedium which is found on the Sefton coast.
A tea made from Common Centaury stimulates the gastric glands relieving bloating and indigestion.
Along the erosion were clumps of Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris) easily recognised by its inflated calyx. In the past it was used for medicinal purposes as it contains soapy saponins.
I had now reached the mouth of the River Alt.
Amongst the sea worn bricks there were some Sea Spurge (Euphorbia paralias) whose sap is supposed to cure warts.
Turning inland I came across some Vipers Bugloss (Echium vulgare)
The flowers are red when in bud and then turn pink, only attaining their intense blue colour when fully open. The stems are covered in coarse hairs that form a protection against predators. The flowers are thought to resemble a snake’s head and in the 17th century the plant was used as an antidote to snake venom.
There were also masses of Everlasting Pea and Vetch.
I saw one patch of a blue flower that I think is Chicory.
The sunny weather had brought out the butterflies. There were lots of Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly and the daytime flying Six Spot Burnet moth.
I also saw the latticed Heath moth
Returning through the dunes I spotted a large caterpillar. I wonder what that will turn into