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British Marine Life Study Society
Seaside Flora

  Childing Pink
Common Name(s):
  Childing Pink
Scientific Name:
  Petrorhagia  nanteuilii
Usual Size:  cm 
                          Photograph by Andy Horton

Childing Pink (Photograph  by Andy Horton)

Flowering Time:

Earliest:  ?
Latest:   ?  nearing their end on 3 August 2005, single flowers only

Similar species:

2 July 2021
The Childing Pink at Silver Sands, Shoreham Beach.


6 August 2020
The Childing Pink site at Silver Sands, Shoreham Beach is being wrecked  by beach goers. One single flower only seen on a sunny afternoon.
A family was camped out right in the middle of the fenced out area, with another half a dozen sunbathers within the fence.
8 August 2019
There were over a hundred Childing Pink in flower and even more dead heads at Silver Sands, with frequent Hare's Foot Clover. There were scores of fawn coloured grasshoppers hopping around.

25 June 2019

There were well over a hundred Childing Pink flowers amongst the Hare's Foot Clover on Silver Sands, Shoreham Beach. Prickly Lettuce and Fennel were growing nearby, but had not yet flowered.

31 May 2019

3 October 2017

Even the breeze had died down so I was eager to go out. The original plan was to see what was washed up on the shore, but this was forgotten as I found two Slow Worms under some roofing felt near Silver Sands, where there were two fresh sprouts of Childing Pink amongst over a dozen plants still in flower with a few Hare's Foot Clover

14 August 2017

Childing Pink at Silver Sands

Invasive plant on Silver Sands
Canadian Fleabane, Conyza canadensis which is unattractive and probably frequent on waste land
(Included for ID purposes)

8 August 2017
With a breeze (Force 4) blowing from the north and black clouds over the sea, conditions were unsuitable for photographing the fragile flowers like the miniature Childing Pink at Silver Sands that swayed too much in the wind. A small new plant was discovered on Silver Sands which seems to be Erigeron canadensis.
15 September 2016
Near Silver Sands, Shoreham Beach, occcasional (10+) Childing Pink were still in flower with the seed heads of Hare's Foot Clover, and the last flowers of Kidney Vetch.

25 May 2016
Twenty single flowers were seen.

1 November 2015
Flowers seen in Shoreham. 

Report by Jacky Woolcock
23 June 2015

About a hundred Childing Pink, Petrorhagia nanteuilii, flowers were seen on Silver Sands on Shoreham Beach. This meant at least one hundred plants as only three double flowers were seen and no trebles. 

20 July 2014
Almost all the day was sunny with clouds, overcast at times, and very humid, with just enough breeze to sway the more fragile plants like the Childing Pink, Petrorhagia  nanteuilii, at Silver Sands, Shoreham Beach. The best plants were inside the wooden surround.  Hare's Foot Clover was more resilient to the breeze. (There was no Kidney Vetch in view.)
Adur Wild Flowers 2014

23 July 2012
There were frequent double flowers of the small Childing Pink, Petrorhagia nanteuilii, on Silver Sands on Shoreham Beach

26 June 2012
Eventually the breeze died down sufficiently so it was worth checking out the population of Childing Pink, Petrorhagia nanteuilii, on Silver Sands on Shoreham Beach

Childing Pink

There were well a hundred single flowers showing and I eventually discovered just a single double flower with scores of the second flowers budding. This popuation of this scarce protected plant was thriving in numbers unprecedented this century. 

5 June 2011
A few Childing Pink with single flowers showed on their only location at Silver Sands. The Friends of Shoreham Beach Wild Flower Walk took place at the east end of Shoreham Beach. The crowd of about 25 picked a brief interlude of an hour between the rain showers.

1 July 2010
On Silver Sands, Shoreham Beach, about a dozen Childing Pink, Petrorhagia nanteuilii, were in flower blowing about in the breeze, with one clear double-flower showing amongst the Kidney Vetch. Encroaching vegetation appears to be been cleared since by last visit in 2008

25 June 2009
Childing Pink, Petrorhagia nanteuilii, was present in small numbers, all with single flowers in their usual place in a small patch at Silver Sands.

19 August 2008
Much too late in the year, I checked out the Childing Pink, Petrorhagia nanteuilii, at Silver Sands on Shoreham Beach, and I saw just the one wind-damaged flower being blown about in the breeze. 
13 July 2006
A quick look at Shoreham beach seemed to show a reduction in the numbers of Childing Pink flowers as somebody had cut the vegetation on the sand outside the Harbour Club, and only one of the frequent flowers blowing in the breeze was doubled.
Childing Pink

24 June 2006
In the weekend sunshine Childing Pink, Petrorhagia nanteuilii, only single flowers so far, were noted in flower for the first time this year  (although they could have been in flower for at least a week) on their normal Silver Sands habitat.

14 July 2005

On Silver Sands on Shoreham Beach, the first double flower of the Childing Pink was recorded for this year. There are many less plants this year as Kidney Vetch and other plants have invaded.

21 June 2005
On Silver Sands, Shoreham Beach, Kidney Vetch has invaded and almost taken over the designated Childing Pink, Petrorhagia  nanteuilii, area, but these small mauve-pink flowers have spread to their preferred sandy habitat, an area between the Harbour Club and the river. They are not in double flower yet which is characteristic of this plant.
Kidney Vetch invading the Childing Pink habitat Silver Sand area between the Harbour Club and the river with Plantains and Childing Pink and other wild plants

The plants are really hard to spot unless you know exactly where you are looking.

The remaining silver sands

February 2003
The new Harbour Club is completed opening up on to the main area for the rare plant known as the Childing Pink.
If this plant is to survive in one of only two locations in Sussex, careful management will be necessary. West Sussex County Council have constructed a wooden surround, but the main area that the plant colonises is actually on the Silver Sands near the club and shown in the picture and outside of the wooden barrier. 


Additional Notes:

31 July 2000
A Clouded Yellow Butterfly was spotted on a Childing Pink still in flower in the minute area of sand dunes (TQ 229 048) remaining on Shoreham Beach. These rare plants seem to have increased in number, but are still under threat from encroaching vegetation

Message: 4
  Date: Fri, 01 Dec 2000 14:13:20 -0000
   From: "Sarah Longrigg" <>
Subject: Child(l)ing pink
UK Botany

I was most interested by Andy Horton's references to this plant, both in regards to flower books that include it and his reference to its presence on the beach at Shoreham-by-Sea.

On 3 August 2005

A couple of years ago I went to visit an aunt (uninterested in botany or conservation) who lives on the coast a good few miles west of Shoreham. We went for a walk on the beach and I noticed these strange flowers (which I did not mention to my aunt!). I later identified them as Child(l)ing pink, and I read somewhere, I forget where, that the location where I found them was one of only two sites in Britain. 
This gave me an interest in this plant.

What now baffles me is its accurate name. Andy Horton and BMLSS give this as  "Childing Pink, Petrorhagia  nanteuilii". I have consulted flower books I have in my possession and have come up with an unbelievable number of variants as follows:

1955 M/F Childling Kohlrauschia prolifera 
1965 KM -     P. nanteuilii / Kohlrauschia prolifera etc
1974 FFB Childling P. nanteulii / nanteullii
1978 F atlas -         P. prolifera
1981 Rose Childling  Kohlrauschia (P.) nanteulii
1983 GS Childling P. nanteuilii / nanteulii
1989 B/GW Childing P. nanteulii
1998 Petroraghia nanteuilii, Childing Pink (Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981)

Thus we have childling/childing and nanteulii/ nanteuilii/ nanteullii
Is it possible to know which of all these variants is correct? It seems to me that typing errors have probably become accepted through repetition. I assume that Kohlrauschia is an older name and that the separation from K./P./ prolifera is rather recent? It is a separate species in more recent sources.

Also, what is the correct pronunciation? child -(l)ing (as in young
child)  or chilled-(l)ing?

List of  books referred to above:
1955 - McClintock & Fitter - Collins pocket guide to wild flowers
1965 - Keeble Martin - Concise British flora in colour
1974 - Fitter/Fitter/Blamey - Wild flowers of Britain & Northern 
1978 - Fitter - Atlas of wild flowers of Britain & Northern Europe
1981 - Rose - Wild flower key, British Isles & North West Europe
1983 - Garrard & Streeter - Wild Flowers of the British Isles
1989 - Blamey/Grey Wilson - Illustrated flora of Britain & Northern 

Sarah Longrigg

 Message: 4
   Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2001 22:01:52 -0000
   From: "Chris Pogson" <>
Subject: Petrorhagia nanteuilii (Childling Pink)

As a new member, I thought I would browse earlier entries and noted some on the Childling Pink.  Last year, while looking for an alien near the South Gare at the mouth of the Tees (reached from Redcar), I stumbled across a sizeable colony (200+) of Petrorhagia nanteuilii, possibly one of the largest in the UK and also the northernmost (any other offers?).  It's not easily confused with anything else, but has now been confirmed, I understand.  If you look in this year's Wild Flower Society fieldtrips list, you will see that Ian Lawrence hopes to demonstrate this species!

Chris Pogson

Information wanted: Please send any records of this plant, with location, date, who discovered it, how it was identified, prevalence, common name and any other details to 
Shorewatch Project EMail 
All messages will receive a reply. 
Shorewatch Project


Adur Nature Notes 2012

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