Monday, 14 July 2014

Yellow flowers of July

It's easy to miss the variety of flowers in the fields at Filnore Woods, because so many of them are the same colour.  Let's look at some of the yellow ones.
This is Lady's Bedstraw, so called because, according to legend, the Virgin Mary lay on a bed of it in Bethlehem  because the donkeys had eaten everything else.  When dried the plant, which contains coumarin, is pleasantly fragrant and so was one of those used to perfume bed linen and discourage bedbugs.

Scrambling amongst the grass blades you may spot the five petalled Creeping Cinquefoil.  (I mean it will be scrambling, not you).  The leaves are made of five leaflets and the flowers are a bit like buttercups.

Another bright yellow flower is the Meadow Vetchling, a member of the pea family.  It is also a scrambler amongst the grass.  (I mean it will be scrambling, not you).The leaves are narrow and almost grass-like.  Apparently it is rich in protein and therefore good for grazing animals in a meadow or pasture.

The fourth flower I managed to photograph today was Agrimony.  The flowers open in turn up the long spikey inflorescence.  The seeds forming below them have little spikes which catch on to animal fur and the socks and shoe-laces of passers-by, like goosegrass seeds.  It was thought to be magical and was called 'Fairy's Rod' but the church changed it to 'Aaron's Rod' to discourage pagan beliefs.

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