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Bastard balm

Bastard balm

Bastard balm is a rare plant in the UK. It only occurs in Cornwall, Devon, parts of south-west Wales and the New Forest area.

In the New Forest it is now quite scarce with just a handful of sites and only grows in rides and small clearings in ancient woodlands, often near streams.

Bastard balm flowers later than many other woodland flowers and is best seen in June. The rides in Wootton Coppice are one area where it is seen most years. It can be difficult to find, so the search adds to the thrill of finding such a rare flower!

Photo: Simon Curzon

ID Tip

ID Tip

Bastard balm usually grows to between 6 and 1 cm tall. It has nettle-shaped leaves in opposite pairs up the stem. Just above the leaves are rings of the flowers, which are up to four centimetres across and white with large pinkish blotches on the lower petal.

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