Beach spike appeal

DAY 53 (28 MAY) – Sea holly (Eryngium maritimum) (El Palmar, Spain)

This is that stuff you always tread on just when you’ve discarded the flip-flops and got over-confident about striding down towards the sea. Or when you’re on your way up again for a comfort break behind the dunes. A partially concealed twig can ruin a beach picnic with one slightly misplaced towel.

But on (careful) closer inspection I found it was quite attractive – in a Mick Jagger sort of way. Not classic beauty but it somehow holds the attention. Something about the blue-tinged leaves reflecting the blue in the flowers.

It’s native to most European coastlines and I hadn’t realised it was abundant on British beaches too (not that Britain isn’t Europe – yet). Anyway I took this picture this evening on some Spanish dunes.

Apparently sea holly roots were used to make candles as an aphrodisiac in Elizabethan times. Think I might have been happy to think of Mick instead.

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