|Large flowered Evening Primrose.|
Even without much rain, some plants thrive on sand where you might not expect much to grow. These are often really common plants that colonise almost anywhere by using siege tactics; they just saturation-bomb an area with seed until it gives in. You can see a lot of these plants along railway lines and gravel tracks. Other less common plants may be drought tolerant and can survive here where they have little competition from bigger plants. It's definitely not the place to be if you have big leaves and you don't like direct sunlight. You need a good root system to gather what water there is and a way of storing what you collect.
Wild strawberries are fruiting right now. They are tiny compared to the ones we grow at home, so they don't require much water; just lots of sunlight. Among the strawberries you will find a small yellow flower that you might mistake for a buttercup.
It's creeping cinquefoil. As its name suggests, it's leaves come in fives and it creeps about over the hard ground by means of red, exploratory, root-like runners. Silverweed, rockrose and tormentil do the same thing on other sites.
The plant that we get asked most about is Viper's Bugloss. It's a great favourite for bees that are attracted to the blue flowers with red hairs on them. The whole plant is rather dry and leathery as well as hairy and so it can stand very dry conditions.
This plant was introduced from the Americas to be decorative. Some people ate the roots, but it was basically a garden flower. It loved railway lines and happily spread along them, eventually making it to Paxton Pits in the bed of some lorry, probably. It's near relative, the Common Evening Primrose is grown to provide oil for the cosmetics industry. Why Evening Primrose? The flowers are only half open in day time: They unfurl at dusk.