One of the UK’s rarest wildflowers thrives in the historic ruins of Hastings Castle.
The Lesser Calamint (Calamintha nepata), is extremely rare and found in only a few sites in the UK. It is believed that, because the castle grounds have remained virtually undeveloped for centuries, this has allowed the flower to survive.
Hastings Castle’s Leanna Lawson said: “A member of our staff decided to find out more about this mysterious flowering shrub which appeared to be growing out of the side of one of the castle’s remaining walls.
“She sent a description and image of it to a local expert who confirmed it was lesser calamint and went on to say the castle was the only known site in the town where it grew. The plant is also only found at a few isolated sites across the country and is increasingly threatened by development and building works.
“We’re delighted the castle has been able to protect such a rare species for such a long time and we are doing our best to look after it and to encourage it to grow and spread within the castle grounds,” she added.
The leaves of this self-seeding plant smell of mint and oregano and, in Italy, the leaves are ground up and used as a culinary herb. The plant reaches a height of 18 inches and the lavender pink flowers attract bees and butterflies.
- Hastings Castle, Castle Hill Road, West Hill, Hastings TN34 3AR. For more information visit www.smugglersadventure.co.uk or call 01424 718776.