This post will include wild flowers I saw and photographed during August and September. Because of other duties, I haven’t taken many photographs since the beginning of September. There were plenty of flowers about (and still are because of the unseasonably warm weather we have been experiencing) but most of them stayed unphotographed. I have also included some berries, seeds and fruits as many of them were ripening fast during August.
Peppermint (Mentha x piperata) is is a hybrid between Spear Mint/Garden Mint (Mentha Spicata) and Water Mint.
The next plant is I think, Cat’s-ear (Hypochaeris radicata) but there are a couple of features that make me feel unsure.
The leaves at the bottom of the photo look too spiky to be Cat’s-ear. Perhaps the leaves belong to a different plant? Why do I never remember to take pictures of the whole plant?!
The next photo is a crop of the one above and shows a couple of insects on the seed-head that I had no idea were there when I took the photo.
The main reason I have been in doubt is the colour of the outer florets. They are such a dark orange-red that I thought at first it might be Beaked Hawk’s-beard but I’m sure it isn’t that.
What makes me think that it is Cat’s-ear is the presence of the scale-like bracts on the stem.
This next plant is called Fat-hen (Chenopodium album). It is a very common annual plant of arable land.
Fat-hen is a wild spinach and its use in Britain as a food has been traced back to the Bronze Age.
It can grow up to a metre in height.
The flowers are only about 2 or 3 mm across.
The flowers start off a yellowish colour but soon change to blue.
A scale is a sort of ‘spacer’ between the miniscule seeds of the birch when they are in the catkin.
There were plenty of grasses to photograph.
Tufted Hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) grows to about 1.5 metres in height and I think it a really beautiful grass – lovely enough to have in the flower border. It is a clump-forming perennial and quite easy to keep under control.
The Sun Spurge has sweet-scented, kidney-shaped lobes on its petal-less flowers which attract insect pollinators. When the Sun Spurge’s seed capsule is ripe it bursts open with an audible crack and the seeds are fired off in all directions. There are three seeds in separate compartments and they have a fleshy appendage that contains an oil that ants find irresistible. They collect the seeds and carry them off even further. Ants usually only eat the oily part and leave the rest of the seed to germinate.
The Euphorbia genus was named after a man called Euphorbus, physician to King Juba of Mauritania in the 1st century AD, who is said to have used the plant medicinally in North Africa. The species name ‘helioscopia’ derives from two Greek words which together mean ‘look at the sun’. This probably refers to the flat-topped head of flowers which spreads out to be fully exposed to the sun.
I found a few Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica) with pink flowers.
I found this growing in our ditch at the front of the house. This isn’t poisonous but it looks quite similar to Hemlock so it is best left alone. It can be distinguished from Hemlock by its long narrow leaflets and greyish colour. Hemlock (Conium maculatum) has wedge-shaped leaves and is a deeper green; it has a foetid smell and purple-blotched stem.
We also have a lot of St John’s-wort growing in the same ditch. I think it might be Square-stalked St John’s-wort (Hypericum tetrapterum).
This St John’s-wort has a winged square stem. I don’t think that is a good explanation but a photo of a cross-section of the stem would show the corners drawn out into thin flaps.
The spikes of this milfoil rise above the water and in mid-summer have tiny red flowers on them – the lower flowers female and the upper male. The feathery leaves are below the surface and are in whorls.
This is a native plant and is not invasive here but I read that it is causing real problems in Canada and the States. We have similar problems with Parrots Feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) from South America. There are such dangers in introducing wildlife from other countries.
I found the fuzzy, creamy-white sprays of flowers very difficult to photograph. They are very sweet-smelling – like almond blossom. The plant belongs to the rose family.
Finally, some photographs of Wild Hop (Humulus lupulus) growing in the hedge in my mother’s garden.
This year, a local brewery asked people to donate the hops growing in their hedges so they could make a special wild hop beer. Mum didn’t donate hers as she doesn’t have that many and we didn’t hear about this until after the event. My husband comes out in a nasty rash if he touches hop leaves. Fortunately for him he gets no rash when he drinks beer.
Thank-you for reading this post!