Chalk Milkwort

The Chalk Milkwort, or Polygala calcarea, is a rare native of warm chalk grassland.

Well, this is a treat. Slowly plodding through chalk grassland this afternoon at Sands Bank nature reserve in Buckinghamshire, I came across a jolly scarce plant.

wild polygala calcarea chalk milkwort

This tiny, tiny, tiny little plant is the Chalk Milkwort, or Polygala calcarea. It is scarce, and grows on chalk grassland in the south of England.

Isn’t it the tiniest, sweetest, bluest plant you’ve ever seen?

Of course, the reserve had many other wild flowers, including this Carline Thistle:

carline thistle Carlina vulgaris

To the uninitiated, Carlina vulgaris looks like a normal thistle that has finished flowering. But oh no. These yellow-brown short petals are as extravagant as this native of dry, warm, chalk grassland gets.

Carlina vulgaris thistle

There was common toadflax (Linaria vulgaris):

common toadflax linaria vulgaris

And Greater Knapweed (Centaurea scabiosa):

centaurea scabiosa

greater knapweed

I had come looking for the Autumn Gentian and its rarer relative the Chiltern Gentian. But I found none. From a distance, I thought this clustered bellflower might be one:

wild campanula

Of course, it was Campanula glomerata, and a very fine display there was too.

clustered bellflower campanula clustered bellflower campanula glomerata

The Sands Bank reserve is lovely – though it does have a rather unprepossessing industrial estate at its feet. While I shall clearly have to travel further afield to find my gentians, I’m chuffed to have found such a tiny rare wild flower in Polygala calcarea.

sands bank nature reserve sands bank entrance

Wild Flower Hour takes place every Sunday at 8pm on twitter and Instagram. Just add #wildflowerhour to your tweets of photos of flowers you’ve found at any time during the week or weekend, and do join the conversation at 8pm on Sunday so that wild flower enthusiasts can find one another and learn more about our amazing native flora.

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  1. » Wild flower hour

    […] F&F’s own contribution is this rare, tiny Chalk Milkwort (Polygala calcarea), along with some other chalk grassland flowers such as Carline Thistles at Sands Bank in Buckinghamshire. More here. […]


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