flowers on Brean Down
Some plants seen on Brean Down, 10th May 2009.
(above and below) Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum). Occasional in the UK near coasts, probably an introduction from the Mediterranean region. The seeds provide the herbal extract silymarin, commonly taken by people like Dave to prepare themselves for an office night out. (It's one of the new breed of nutritional supplements that appeal to a heteronormal male audience, like Bayer's multivitamin supplement Berocca.) Milk Thistle is thought to aid the liver in dealing with toxins, and is quite commonly used in severe cases of liver damage e.g. from Death Cap, toluene/xylene, cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis.
(above) Bugloss (Anchusa arvensis)
(above and below) White Rock-rose (Helianthemum apenninum) - in the UK found only here and in three sites near Torbay. This is really a Mediterranean plant, here at the limit of its range; in Spain it is called "Perdiguera blanca". It crowns the southern slope of the down (yang). The flora on the northern slope (yin) is completely different. Brean Down, the isolated western end of the Mendips, contains a number of other rare plants that I haven't seen, but Somerset Hair Grass (Koeleria vallesiana) is the only one whose name I remember right now.