The Falkland Islands are home to a surprising number of beautiful plants. Around 350 species have been recorded of which 171 are native to the Islands and 13 are endemics which do not occur naturally anywhere else in the world. Introduced plants have arrived both deliberately and accidently. Colourful garden flowers around the Islands are usually imported but there is a growing interest in creating “native species gardens”.
The Falklands' National Flower
The Pale Maiden is a native species and voted the national flower of the Falklands. This elegant plant has slender stems with bell-shaped flowers, the petals white with distinctive violet stripes. The yellow pale maiden is closely related but much rarer. Both flower mainly in the months of spring and early summer.
Tussac grass is one of the most important plants as it provides a valuable habitat for many creatures, great and small. Tussac grass is found along the coastline and dominates some small islands.
Attractive endemic flowering species include the delicate coastal naussauvia with tiny but prolific white flowers and a sweet smell of nectar on a warm summer’s day; the woolly and smooth daisies with bright yellow flowers; the lady’s slipper, an orange-yellow flower named for its fascinating shape; the snake plant which slides its way through stone runs; the vanilla daisy with beautiful white petals and a very distinctive eponymous scent.
Many native plants can be eaten and offer up a range of tastes. The ubiquitous diddle-dee is renowned for its bitter-sweet red berries; bitter when picked but deliciously sweet when made into jam.
Teaberries are enjoyed picked straight from the plant or baked into buns and pavlovas.
Scurvy grass produces pretty white blooms with a delicate yellow middle and all parts have a lovely citrus flavour, perfect for cordials on a hot summer day. Fachine leaves have a strong “herby” taste.
There is plenty to enjoy – a treat for all senses.