Wall Germander at Camber Castle

06 August 2017 | Posted in Barry Yates , Rye Harbour , Plants
Wall Germander at Camber Castle
Wall Germander

The walls of Camber Castle have several plants with wall in their name, Wall Pennywort, Pellitory of the Wall, Wall Pepper and Wall Germander (Teucrium chamaedrys) which has been known from there for many years. In 1715 it was described as growing “plentifully on ye walls and ruins...” - click here to see a herbarium specimen from 1897!

It may have been grown there as a medicinal plant since there are many claims of health benefits - stimulant, tonic, diaphoretic, diuretic - see more here. It was still there in 1934, but noted as in danger of extinction by the repairs to the castle. In 1990 it was accidentally sprayed by contractors and exterminated! However, this was not the end of the story as a workman had cultivated the plant in his garden in Rye and so through him I now have it in my garden at the nature reserve. After several failed attempts, a planting in the castle in 2010 was successful (below) and so now the plant has a secure future here. It's only found in a few other places in Sussex and Britain - click here for a map.

The origin of 'germander' is from Medieval Latin germandrea, from Greek khamaidrus, from khamai on the ground + drus oak tree. The leaves are shaped like oak leaves.