In Kelp beds, dense thickets of dark brown weed floating vertically, anything which floats below the surface becomes trapped. In gales the kelp is ripped off rocks and deposited on the shore, sometimes in huge quantities, piles 2 metres high. I have seen many deposits on beaches and they always hold three things: sea balls, broken pieces of water bottle and socks.

The broken pieces of plastic water bottle are almost weightless and must be taken down by waves into the kelp. The lost socks must fill with sand, wrap around the hold fasts of kelp and sit in the weedy deposits on the sea bed until a violent sea digs them out. Or do lost socks swim out to sea?


08/07/06 Porthcothan plant survey (list) Dunes and growing out of cliff faces


Jane Darke and Jim Roberts


Note – Identification of species by Jane Darke (double checked with numerous field guides)


Page 2 – YELLOW/GREY DUNE at Porthcothan running parallel with the sea

Page 3 – Dunes adjacent to South side of Porthcothan River

Page 4 – Dunes on North side of Porthcothan River

Page 5 – Cliff-face (North side)

Page 6 – Embryo dune (to left next to path)

 YELLOW/GREY DUNE at Porthcothan running parallel with the sea


Calystegia soldanella                          Sea bindweed

Taraxacum officinale                          Common dandelion

Senecio jacobaea                                 Common ragwort

Daucus carota                                    Wild carrot

Acer pseudoplatanus                           Sycamore (at least 8 plants scattered about)

Oenothera biennis                               Common evening primrose

Aster tripolium                                    Sea aster

Rose cultivars (x2)

Geranium (pink – from our garden)

Centranthus aruber                            Red Valerian

Tragopogon porrifolius                       Salsify

Plantago coronopus                            Ribwort plantain

Ammophila arenaria                           Marram grass

Willowherb sp.

Rosa rugosa                                        Rugosa rose

Heracleum sphondylium                     Hogweed

Fucus grass covering

Euphorbia paralias                             Sea spurge

Rubus fruticosus                                  Bramble

Beta vulgaris                                       Sea beet

Iris foetidissima                                   Gladdon iris

Valeriana officinalis                           Common valerian (white flowering)

Apium graveolens                               Wild celery

Pulicaria dysenterica                          Common fleabane

Atriplex patula                                    Common orache

Atriplex prostrate                                Spur-leaved orache

Sonchus arvensis                                 Perennial sow thistle

Hieracium umbellatum                       Leafy hawkweed

Foeniculum vulgare                            Fennel

Hydrocotyle bonariensis                     Pennywort

Lavatera cretica                                  Tree-mallow

Parietaria judaica                               Pellitory-of-the-wall
Dunes adjacent to South side of Porthcothan River


Juncus sp.                                            Rushes

Convulvulus avensis                           Field bindweed

Eryngium maritimum                          Sea-holly

Plantain sp (short)

Solanum dulcamara                            Woody nightshade

Anthyllis vulneraria                            Kidney-vetch

Mentha longifolia                               Horse mint

Cypressum sp                                      Cypress tree (same as tree by the road)

Cirsium arvense                                  Creeping thistle

Prunus spinosa                                   Blackthorn

Crocosmia sp

Clematis (wild?)

Hedera helix                                        Ivy

Shaster daisy

Hippuris vulgaris                                Mare’s-tail

Urtica sp.                                            Nettle

Symphytum officinale                          Common comfrey

Allium babbingtonii                            Babbington’s leek

Silene dioica                                        Red campion

Ranunculus acris                                 Tall buttercup

Geranium robertianum                       Herb-Robert

Convulvulus arvensis                          Field bindweed

Scrophularia auriculata                      Water figwort

Stachys arvensis                                  Field woundwort



Dunes on North side of Porthcothan River


Juncus sp.                                            Rushes

Mustard sp. (same as before but white flowers)

Silene dioica                                       Red Campion

Rubus fruticosus                                  Bramble

Plantago coronopus                            Ribwort plantain

White rugosa

Orchid sp. (like broad leaved marsh orchid)

Eryngium maritimum                          Sea-holly

Cirsium arvense                                  Creeping thistle

Potentilla reptans                                Creeping cinquefoil

Rumex crispus                                     Curled doc

Atriplex prostrate                                Spur-leaved orache

Nasturtium microphyllum                   Water cress

Euphorbia paralias                             Sea spurge

Eryngium maritimum                          Sea-holly

Tripleurospermum maritimum            Sea mayweed

Medicago polymorpha                        Toothed-medick

Papaver rhoeas                                   Common poppy


Cliff-face (North side)


Plantago maritima                              Sea plantain

Limonium vulgare                               Common sea-lavender

Crithmum maritimum                         Rock samphire

Spergularia marina                             Lesser sea-spurrey

Cochlearia officinalis                                     Common scurvygrass

Ligustrum vulgare                              Privet

Plantain sp (ragged-leaved) – Rat’s tail?

Armeria maritima                               Sea pink

Lonicera periclymenum                      Honey suckle


EMBRYO DUNE to front left of dunes at the back of Porthcothan Bay (around 5 years old)


Plantago coronopus                            Ribwort plantain

Elymus farctus                                     Sea couch grass

Ammophila arenaria                           Marram grass

Euphorbia paralias                             Sea spurge

Mustard sp.

Taraxacum officinale                          Common dandelion

Potentilla reptans                                Silverweed

Rumex crispus                                     Curled doc

Honkenya peploides                            Sea sandwort