Torn ribbons

7. Ragged Robin (Silene flos-cuculi)

This is another species that buried itself deep into my subconsciousness by being a plant that was with me at the start of my 'Dungeness time'. Back in the mid-70s I could be found regularly helping out with the bird ringing, and as such trudged across the shingle and through the sallow bushes from net-site to net-site day-in, day-out. The wet flushes that were found out on the shingle had their own community of flowers, many not found away from them. These, even to my bird-obsessed mind became little icons, friendly markers appearing by the damp edges.

The coral-pink, deeply-indented petals had got my attention, made me take notice, and encouraged me to find out what it was called. It looked like torn ribbons to me. "Ragged Robin," I was told. I liked that name. And it is a species that still brings a smile to my face whenever I stumble across it. It is not a plant that I see much locally, more's the pity.


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