This sea of blue has appeared off one of Sussex’s busiest roads.

The flowers have bloomed to create the colourful covering just north of the A27 on the outskirts of Brighton.

The purple patch, visible from Ditchling Road, is thought to be flax flowers – a plant first used by pre-historic man 30,000 years ago to help fight infections.

Last year, researchers found that fibres from the common flax plant can kill bacteria efficiently when treated with special light- sensitive dyes and exposed to red light.

Academics at the University of Brighton said the approach could, for example, reduce contamination on bed linen and patients’ clothes from bacteria including MRSA.

Flax absorbs some light-sensitive dyes with a greater capacity than the most commonly used material, cotton.

After stimulation with red light, the dyes produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) that kill bacteria.

ROS – chemically – reactive molecules containing oxygen - attack in several different ways, which means bacteria is less likely to develop resistance to the treatment, unlike antibiotics.