In case you think I’ve made a profoundly important botanical discovery, perhaps I should clarify that title: although I have noticed this plant growing in one particular place at Cosmeston Lakes Country Park during my walks in the past couple of weeks, Monday was the first time I had a close look at it, took some photos and worked out what it was, and it is a plant I had not previously seen.
This is Blue fleabane (Erigeron acris), a member of the daisy family, though why it is called Blue fleabane I have no idea as the flower petals I’ve seen are pink, and both my plant ID guidebook and the various online sites I’ve looked at describe them as lilac or purplish.
This is a coastal plant, which usually grows in dry areas of grassland, on sand dunes or on stone walls. That fits with the site at Cosmeston, where it’s growing in a very dry, stony location and it’s probably only a mile to the sea as the crow flies. As you can see from the fluffy seed heads in my photos, it’s actually at the end of its flowering period – usually between July and September – so I have been very remiss in not noticing it before now.