Plants on parade- not so glamorous!

At this time of year plants and flowers are growing and popping up almost hourly as the woods, fields and hedgerows fill out and the landscape is re- greened. The stars of the show are cowslips, primroses, bluebells and blossom laden trees.However quietly carpeting areas and being overlooked are the others…. the less glamorous but worth a look and a moment to appreciate and focus on. The list is long so I’m focusing on one short walk and the flowers I discovered.

1. Plantain

Ribwort Plantain ( Plantago lanceolata)- commonly known as lambs tongue.

This plant is thought to be the most widespread plant in grassland in Britain, it is often found growing in waste land and in road verges. It has hairy stems and leaves with parallel veins . The pollen from Plantain is used as an identifying species for agriculture. The brown seed heads stay on the plant all winter and provide food for birds. A great game is played with the flower heads by children similar to conkers knocking the heads off.

2.Herb Robert

Herb Robert ( Geranium robertianum) with common name of stinking Bob amongst others.

These delicate pink 5 petal tiny flowers are often found in shaded areas, woodlands , verges and waste land. It is a cranes bill flower, it’s leaves have a pungent ‘mouse’ smell. The leaves often have a red tinge , the stems are red and hairy. One of the traditional uses of Herb Robert was to treat nosebleeds.

3.Wild Strawberries

Wild Strawberry ( Fragaria Vesca)

Wild strawberries produce tiny sweet fruits. I have a lovely memory of wild strawberries growing like a carpet under a field of ox-eye daisies. I spent a good twenty minutes sitting under the daisies eating strawberries in the sun .

The famous designer William Morris used the wild strawberry in a famous print called ‘strawberry thief ‘ it is said he designed it after seeing a bird in his garden fly down, pick and eat a strawberry.

4. Knapweed

Common Knapweed ( Centaurea nigra), commonly known as ‘ hardheads’

The knapweed flowers look like a thistle flower. They are composite flowers, this means that they are made up hundreds of florets packed tightly together, the same structure as the dandelion.Knapweed is a plant that attracts butterflies and is common is grassland and verges.

5. Cow Parsley

Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris)

This delicate white almost frothy flower populates the road verges. It is a member of the Apiacae family. The flower has the structure of an umbrella. These umbrellas are called umbels. The divided leaves have an aniseed scent. The tops of these umbrella shaped flowers are a table top, these are often populated by flies, hoverflies, beetles and bees.

6.Fumitory

Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis), this has a common name of Earth Smoke.

This is often found in waste ground , this is where the plant above was seen on bare ground at a construction site. Fumitory was described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.

7. Forget- me-not

Forget -me -not (Myosotis sylvatica)

I love this poem about forget -me -nots it was in a favourite book of mine bought on Hastings seafront.

This tiny bright blue flower can be found in woodland edges , in grass , often in groups.

This walk was also punctuated by buttercups, Dandelions , milk maids and more , a floral delight !


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