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Mabey in the Wild, Series 1 Episode 5 of 5

15 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 31 July 2011

Samphire (pronounced 'sam-fer') is Richard Mabey's favourite edible wild plant.

In this programme he's on the marshy coast of Suffolk where the plant grows in shallow water. He celebrates the pleasures of eating the plant that used to be known as 'poor man's asparagus' but which is now fashionable in restaurants across the land.

Richard explains something of the plant's history, its appearance in literature and we go onto the foggy marshes of the Wash with Michael Castleton who has been gathering samphire for more than 40 years.

Richard concludes the programme (and the series) with news that samphire is being used in experiments to mitigate coastal erosion on the east coast of England. Samphire is a pioneering plant that helps to MAKE land. So our wild flora is not just a beautiful enhancement of our countryside - it may have a vital part to play in its future too.

Producer: Susan Marling
A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.


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