Pasqueflowers on Parade

These flowers were amazing , they carpet the short grass on the chalk hillside , the number of plants was wonderful. They are a beautiful deep mauve and a golden centre and hairy . They belong to the buttercup family ( Runnunculaceae) Their Latin name is Pulsatilla Vulgaris.

We had a lovely sunny walk to see these flowers following the hard white chalk path past the golf course towards the brilliant natural chalk landscape beyond the manicured greens. We were at Therfield Heath close to Royston in Hertfordshire. This is one of the few areas of chalk grassland where the Pasqueflower can be seen in the UK and in these incredible numbers. the Pasqueflower is the county flower of Hertfordshire.

Pasqueflowers are rare in the UK and they are classified as vulnerable on the vascular plant red data list.

The Pasqueflower is seen at Easter time and is also known as the ‘anemone of passiontide’ Another interesting common name is ‘Dane’s Blood’ this name refers to the fact that the flower is often found growing on old barrows and burial mounds. ( undisturbed over long periods) however the myth behind the name suggests that the flowers spring from the spilt blood of Danes and Romans.

All parts of the plant are poisonous.

The seed heads that develop after the flower fades are attractive and look fantastic.

When you sit down next to these beautiful little plants you realise that there are also a lot of snails on and around them in this chalk grassland.

These are Heath snails ( Helicella itala).

Walking from this open grassland we headed into Fox Covert an area of open Beech woodland. This is a place to come back to soon to see the White Helleborines in flower.

Today the wood was full of dancing Brimstone butterflies sometimes in groups of three or four. The under-storey plants feel like they are growing as you walk past them. A lone pink bluebell caught my eye.

This is a brilliant place to visit, find out more when the magazine comes out in July , read the article in Issue .1.Find out more about the magazine launch and publication and how you can get a copy by emailing naturetableexplorer@yahoo.com

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