Inedible Swansea

The beach could have been on the edge of the world. The embankment that prevents the dunes invading the city front gives the beach an isolated feel quite close to the centre. When I walked through the gap onto the fine golden sand I immediately felt it was one of those near perfect mornings. Few people, no wind, warm sun and the tide was in – always an unanticipated bonus in Swansea.

Swansea Bay Sept 2012
Swansea Bay Sept 2012. Photo: Mr Edible.

I’m never stop being intrigued by the range of wildflowers on the nutrient-poor dunes. Here are two: one looks like an introduced alien, with its ‘baked bean’ coloured berries against silver-grey foliage, it is sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) and is in fact a native of here, and the rest of northern Europe coasts. The familiar evening primrose (Oenothera sp.) is such a long-term guest from North America that many assume it’s a native.

Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) Photo: Mr. Edible.
Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) Photo: Mr. Edible.
On Swansea Beach - Evening Primrose (Oenothera sp.). Photo: Mr Edible.

Evening Primrose (Oenothera sp.). Photo: Mr Edible.

Evening Primrose (Oenothera sp.). Photo: Mr Edible.

Inedible Swansea? Well, they do have interesting medicinal associations (past and present), but I felt sure one could do something in the kitchen with sea buckthorn – damn it there was so much of it just on my doorstep. Eventually I found a recipe for sea buckthorn jam, sounds like an injunction to attend a ‘70s folk-rock group gig but it is an edible possibility.

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2 thoughts on “Inedible Swansea

  1. We have the so-called Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) as our triffid nightmare, also planted to stabilise landscape but so pretty as carpobrotus! It is so invasive that people looked delight, and with an evil gleam in their eye, when they hear that it is possible to eat it. lol. I’l plan to try some recipes in spring although I probably won’t serve it up for guests at least to begin with…

  2. I’m in agreement that coastal dunes (and prairies) are home to some amazing plantlife. Now if we could only get rid of all the ice plants (Carpobrotus edulis, Aizoaceae) here in California! lol

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