Gritting roads during the recent cold snap in Britain has allowed a coastal flower to become the fastest spreading plant in Britain according to a conservation charity an expert has claimed.
Danish scurvy grass has moved inland from the coast along roads where salt has cleared vegetation on the verges, says Dr Trevor Dines, of the Plantlife charity.
Dr Dines claims the chemistry of the flowers means it can deal with the salt on the roads which kills other plants meaning it has no competition when it is trying to flower. He said, “Salting the road is key for this plant spreading”.
Dr Dines has helped the distribution of more than 2,400 plants in Great Britain and Ireland. Danish scurvy grass has been revealed as the flower which has moved into more areas of the map in the past half-century.
Dr Dines added, “It has had the most dramatic changes in distribution of any wild plant in Britain. This ties in with snow and icy conditions on the roads. Most plants hate salt. When salt is put down on a road, you get this area called the salt burn. Most vegetation is burned. There are several other plants that have spread from the sea shore but Danish scurvy grass has spread the fastest. It’s all down to a trick within its chemistry. It can cope with the salt where other plants would perish. This little bit of burnt road verge becomes available to it as a place to move into and spread. It is opening up a bit of habitat.”
Danish Scurvy grass is a member of the cabbage family and generally flowers from May-July.