Flora on Sark
Barren to blossoming!
Virtually no records of Sark’s profusion of wildflowers were kept before the nineteenth century. In 1564 Helier de Carteret would have found the island a windswept plateau covered in brambles, bracken and furze with valleys devoid of trees.
Today, Sark boasts spectacular, colourful displays of wild flowers, both native and foreign. The island is home to rare species of plants and flowers found in few other places in the world, let alone the British Isles.
Each season brings forth different foliage, making Sark's landscape varied, ever-changing and a joy to observe all year round.
Wild Flowers in Spring
In spring the predominant wild flowers are Bluebells, Red Campion and the White Three-cornered Leek, introduced from the Mediterranean and known locally as wild garlic, which has a triangular stem and a distinctive garlicky smell when crushed.
Bluebells can be mainly found blanketing the slopes of Dixcart valley, Port Du Moulin woods, Bluebell woods and on L'Epercquerie Common.
The cliff paths and field banks all over the island burst into life with a profusion of Primroses, Dog Violets and Celandines.
The bright yellow Gorse, with its sumptuous coconutty scent, starts to flower in earnest at this time of year and reminds us all that Summer is coming!
Vibrant hues of Summer
In Summer the white flowers of the Sea Campion coat the slopes and tops of the cliffs. They meet with Foxgloves and Oxeye Daisies, which are also to be seen all over the island, vibrant against the blue hues of the sea.
Thrift, Thyme, Rock Samphire and the rarer Golden Samphire appear within the rocky hill sides above the bays.
The distinctive Giant Echium grows to over 8 feet tall and soars into view in the most unlikely places. This species was introduced from the Canary Islands, and is now only found in the wild on La Palma island at 2000 feet in the cloud zone laurel forest.
All over the island the banks and hedgerows are full of small blue Sheep’s-bit and Honeysuckle, with its delightful scent drifting on a summer breeze.
Berries in Autumn
Come Autumn, sometimes even in late Summer, the various berries make their appearance. Blackberry picking and jam making is a popular pastime as the berries grow wild in many spots around the island and are easily accessible to all. Paired with local apples its crumble heaven!
Along with the Blackberries come the Sloe berries, although not edible they are excellent for making Sloe Gin or Vodka for a festive treat. Bottle up a batch and let sit for a year, makes the perfect Sark Christmas gift.
The Winter months
Although Winter may see the end of the wild flowers the landscape is far from dreary. The ferns and bracken have now turned and the deep rusty red of the headlands meets strikingly with the steely blue of the sea.
In many ways the colours around Sark actually appear deeper and richer in the Winter light, without the brightness of the sun washing them out.
Before long the Daffodils rear their jolly yellow heads along the roadsides, brightening even the dullest of days.