The Lundy Cabbage

Close up of flower

Close up of Lundy Cabbage flower

The Lundy Cabbage (Coincya wrightii) is a species of primitive brassica growing only on Lundy and nowhere else in the world. Its nearest relative grows in southern Spain and North Africa. It is likely that Lundy is far enough away from the mainland to have allowed the plant to evolve into a separate species.

It is one of about a dozen endemic plants in the British Isles. However, even amongst this select company, it stands out. It is unique in having its own endemic insect(s). There is a Bronze Lundy Cabbage Flea Beetle (and, possibly, another flea beetle and a weevil) which only live on the plant.

Lundy Cabbages on the clifftop

Lundy Cabbages on the clifftop

If all the areas of growth on the Island were put together, it would cover a square of about 100m, which, for the total world population of a plant, is miniscule. Although the sheep, goats and ponies on the Island will eat it, its main threat was from the rhododendrons that were spreading along the east side. These have now been cleared after many years of work by LFS members and others.

M.S.