Sunday, 11 April 2021

DANDELION


The great dandelion flush of April is under way.


They flower most of the year but now is their peak time.


As gardeners we ae not so keen but along the roadside verges and in fields they are magnificent.  One of our beautidful wild flowers that is NOT in decline for once.


This one is still untangling its centre.


These two are fully open.


Each of the strap-like petals is really a very small flower or floret with four grooves and five teeth at the end.

There are many plants in this family with similar yellow flowers, but only the true dandelion has those hollow stems full of white latex.


The leaves can be used as a salad or as a diuretic medicine, the flowers can be used to make a country wine and the roasted roots were used as a coffee substitute during war time food shortages.

But I just love to see 'em - except in my flower and vegetable garden at home.

Each dandelion is a great source of nectar for bees and beetles, 
although we unkindly underestimate it as a weed



 

Saturday, 10 April 2021

The dangly catkins on birch trees are the male flowers.  They will elongate and produce pollen.


Meanwhile the female catkins are developing.  You can see them top right in the picture above.  They are very small at the moment but when the male catkins drop off on to the floor, the fertilised females will fatten up with trillions of seeds.


Birch trees produce so many seeds in the hope that some of them will find a nice place with bare soil and lots of bright light.  Birch is one of the first species to colonise cleared land.

Meanwhile birch seeds are a great food source for birds like coal tits and siskins.




 

Friday, 9 April 2021

BLUSHING BRACKET

As they mature the fruiting bodies of the Blushing Bracket fungus (Daedaleopsis confragosa) turn brown.


The brackets grow on willow, especially dead willow, and grow horizontally so you can see whether they grew before or after the infected stem fell by the angle.      


 

Monday, 5 April 2021

RED DEADNETTLE


Much smaller than the white deadnettle, the red dead nettle has pink flowers and purply red leaves.  

It likes disturbed or waste ground.  


A cheery weed.

Check the website of the More Than Weeds Campaign to see how people are drawing attention to the wildflowers that we call weeds.



Saturday, 3 April 2021

LEAVE NO TRACE

Can you read the cleverly carved message in the bark of this log amongst the litter around an unofficial fire site?

  Look more closely!

Hilarious !

Was it a reference to the Debra Granik film of the same name?

Or was it an exhortation like that of Native American Chief Seattle of the Duwamish tribe:

'Take only memories; leave only footsteps.'

Friday, 2 April 2021

DOG'S MERCURY

Another ancient woodland indicator, Dog's Mercury spreads principally by underground runners or rhizomes. 


It will survive in a hedgerow but can't compete with vigorous grasses and so is mostly a woodland plant.


These are male plants and I haven't found any female plants locally so that's why they don't spread by seed.


Strictly these are not plants but all the same plant connected underground.




 

Thursday, 1 April 2021

WOOD ANEMONE

When the trees ae still bare of foliage the nodding flowers of Wood Anemone  or Windflower appear. 


Because they are not very good at spreading or competing against more vigorous plants, they take a long time to establish.  


This means their presence in a wood suggests that they and the woodland have been there a long time.  We call such plants ancient woodland indicators.


The distinctive leaves help you to identify them before or just after they come into flower.


 There are a lot of them in Cleve Wood off Hacket Lane and in Hackett Wood just opposite Cumbria Close on Morton Way.