Saturday, 28 May 2016

Ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria)

Carrot Family

This is one of the safest of the carrot family to identify, and certainly the most common. Its serrated leaves are oval with a point and mostly grow in 3 groups of 3 from a grooved stalk, close to the ground. Umbels of small white flowers appear in late May or June.

28 May 2016
Denso Marston Nature Reserve

Sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata)

 Carrot Family
Sweet Cicely is an attractive plant that is a striking component of herb gardens and hedgerows. 
This early flowering perennial is renowned for its aniseed taste and fragrance. It is in growth and in flower before most other umbellifers are even thinking of it, a really useful precursor to the Ammi genus such as Ammi majus. The plants grow to a height of 90cm (36in), and umbels of tiny white flowers appear from spring to early summer. The fern-like leaves are deeply divided and smell of aniseed when crushed. 

28 May 2016
 Denso Marston Nature Reserve

Seed pods look like a bunch of Bananas 

wood stichwort (Encyclopedia Britannica)

The stems of Wood Stitchwort are hairy all the way round and the petals are twice as long as the sepals but at first glance the flowers look similar to other larger flowered stitchworts like Stellaria holostea although the leaves are totally different.

28 May 2016

Hemlock Water Dropwort (Oenanthe crocata)

 Carrot Family,

Hemlock water-dropwort (not to be confused with its equally toxic cousin hemlock (conium maculatum) is common in shallow water and wet ground throughout the UK, especially ditches,  slow-flowing streams and on foreshores. It has been mistaken for wild celery or water-parsnip – be very careful when IDing either of these for eating, or indeed any member of the carrot family. All parts of hemlock water-dropwort are potentially deadly. Look out for distinctive carrot family leaves  (3-4 times pinate at base) growing from or near water, strong unpleasant smell when broken (like acrid celery), hairless hollow grooved stem and white swollen roots.

Both foragers and dog walkers should familiarise themselves with the distinctive “dead man’s fingers” of hemlock water-dropwort roots. These are often exposed on river banks or washed up after floods or high tides. Most years they result in the deaths of several dogs around the UK after winter storms.(link)

28 May 2016



Blends in with other plants

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Silverweed (Argentina anserina)

The scientific name that the plant received in LinnĂ©’s time (Anser) refers to the greylag goose, which was also the root of the plant’s colloquial name in Finnish. Silverweed has adapted to its habitat among gaggles of geese: it grows in cracks in the rocks, keeping it safe from predatory beaks. Nowadays in many books silverweed has been separated from genus Potentilla and placed in a genus of its own, Argentina, most obviously on account of its doubly lobed leaves.(Link)
Rose Family

 Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits Nature Reserve,

Found at Lindley Woods.




Pendulous sedge (Carex pendula)

 Flowering plants known as sedges,

Pendulous Sedge is a clump-forming plant of wet woodlands and riversides. It has a scattered distribution, but particularly prefers ancient woods on clay and heavy soils; it is also a popular plant with gardeners. Living up to its common name, the long, nodding flower spikes are attractive and appear from May to July.(link)

24 May 2016
Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits Nature Reserve,

Changing Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis discolor)

Borage Family, or Forget-me-not family.

Low to short hairy, rather slender plant. Stem leaves often have at least one pair opposite. The tiny flowers (1-2mm) are pale yellow or cream at first becoming pink violet or blue.

24 May 2016

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Sticky Mouse-ear (Cerastium glomeratum)

Pink Family

Low to short, yellowish green stickily hairy plant. Leaves oval to elliptical, bracts leaf-like. Flowers 5 to 8 mm often not fully opening, the petals shallowly notched.

17 May 2016
Yeadon Banks

22 April 2016
Same plant

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Toothwort (Lathraea squamaria )

Broomrapes family

Bolton Abbey

Toothwort is a highly unique plant: all Broomrape family plants steal nutrition from neighbouring plants and also assimilate themselves, but toothwort is the only one that is fully parasitic. The species’ scientific name means ‘hiding’, and indeed most of this completely non-chlorophyllous plant’s life happens out of sight under the ground. Toothwort’s rootstock’s branches have sucking nodules (haustoria) between the branches which attach early in the spring to the host plant’s rootstock. This thankless task is usually performed in Finland by the hazel shrub, or occasionally a linden tree, ash, maple or alder. Scaly leaves next to the ground help toothwort dissipate water, which improves the plant’s ability to suck nutrition from the host plant.
In spring toothwort’s pale purple shoots push through the ground as they begin to flower. The seeds develop quickly and fall to the ground. They only sprout in the vicinity of a suitable host. The aerial shoots wither already at midsummer – in autumn the underground haustoria wither too and the plant rests. Toothwort is so highly adapted to life underground that it is able to flower and produce seeds without breaking the surface. Especially in boggy habitats it can grow from pieces of stem in the ground, which demonstrates its ability to survive independently, at least for a short while.(link)