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New flower finds room to grow on Europa foreshore

New flower finds room to grow on Europa foreshore

A volunteer’s long-running work to remove invasive plants from the Europa Point foreshore has allowed a new species of flower to take root in the area.

The Autumn Squill (Prospero autumnale) was identified by well-known local botanist Leslie Linares after he was contacted by volunteer Bart Van Thienen, who has worked tirelessly to restore the foreshore to its natural state.

“It is a new addition to the list of species in that area, bringing the total to 137 species,” Mr Van Thienen said.

“It is only about 5 cm high and I found a small stand on an area I cleared a year ago from invasive plants.”

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“Some of it is already setting seed and it grows from a bulb so it looks like it will stay there for the foreseeable future.”

According to Mr Linares this plant was only found in two other specific areas of the Upper Rock.

Mr Van Thienen is unsure as to how the flower got to the Europa foreshore but speculated that it might have been propagated through bird droppings.

“First there was one seed and the numbers just grew from that,” he said.

“There are seven or eight flowers there,” he added.

He hopes that this means the flower will continue to spread and next year there could be as many as 30.

“It is a popular flower with the butterflies that are currently migrating to Africa,” he noted.

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Eyleen Gomez
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