French name: Raiponce en épi
I’ve learned to carry my camera with me at all times these days, traveling around the French countryside you just never know what you’re going to spot and when! Today was no exception to that rule, when on the way back from a morning’s trip to Égletons, I spotted a small clump of white spiked flowers growing by the side of the road.
Needless to say, the car was stopped, and out I jumped to take a couple of photographs in the pouring rain!
Spiked Rampion has creamy-white flowers which grow in tall spikes, less than a metre tall. Its leaves are basal, and are blade shaped with a toothed margin. It flowers from May to June, and can be found growing in shady areas along the edges of woodland or roadside verges.
Spiked Rampion is common throughout France but is rarer in Mediterranean and Northern regions.
Although common in France, Spiked Rampion is very rare in the UK where it is on the red list for being an endangered species. It can only be found growing on a few sites in East Sussex, which for me, although being a common wildflower here in France, makes seeing this today extra special.
The flower is commonly known as the Rapunzel flower, as in English translations of the fairy tale Rapunzel, Spiked Rampion, which has edible roots, is the plant stolen which results in the baby Rapunzel being given to the evil witch, and subsequently locked in the tower!
Whilst traveling around this June, keep a look out for the beautiful Rapunzel flower. I’d love to know if you have Spiked Rampion growing near you, so please do leave your comments in the box below.