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Orpine is a fairly unusual flower, it is related to the stonecrops but is much bigger, it will grow to about 60cm high. Reference to the BSBI web site shows that it has been recorded in two tetrads along the Wye valley in recent years, one tetrad which includes Tintern and Brockweir and another which includes Redbrook. However I have not seen it and the photo below I took in France.


It is a perennial herb, found on wood-borders, hedge banks, roadsides, rocky banks and in limestone pavement, often in very small but very persistent colonies. It also occurs as an uncommon ancient woodland plant, but sometimes fails to flower in this habitat.

Unfortunately this is another plant which has suffered from garden cultivated individuals ‘escaping’ into the wild and getting established and then interbreeding with the wild stock so that now we have a complete muddle of escapes, native and hybrid plants. Many people grow what is known as Ice plant in their garden, not just for its quite spectacular pink flowers but also because it is particularly liked by butterflies and bees. To tell the difference, ice plant has leaves which are arranged opposite along the stem whereas the wild Orpine has leaves which are alternate. They are also much narrower.

To check out other wildflowers found in the woods of the Wye valley and Ninewells wood click Woodland Wildflowers of the Wye valley and Monmouthshire.