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.
The Water Mint (Mentha aquatica) is very popular with all the insects
Water mint growing in our ditch
Two types of hoverfly on the mint flowers.
There are a few flies on these mint flower spikes too but they are well camouflaged. I like the little fly on the right zooming off somewhere.
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.
There is (what I think is) a mature Green Shield Bug (Palomena prasina) on the right and down on the left is a little green and black insect – a Green Shield Bug nymph, 4th instar.
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.
And this is a cropped photo showing the red outer florets more clearly
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.
This is such a tiny-flowered forget-me-not.
The flowers are only about 2 or 3 mm across.
It is called Changing Forget-me-not (Mysotis discolor)
The flowers start off a yellowish colour but soon change to blue.
A Silver Birch (Betula pendula) scale which had landed on a clover leaf.
A scale is a sort of ‘spacer’ between the miniscule seeds of the birch when they are in the catkin.
Scentless Mayweed (Tripleurospermum inodorum) continued to flower.
Dogwood berries had formed and were beginning to ripen.
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.
Carpets of Bird’s-foot Trefoil on the un-ploughed strip of land round the field behind our house.
Sun Spurge (Euphorbia helioscopia)
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.
Parsley Water-dropwort (Oenanthe lachenalii) just coming into flower
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).
Square-stalked St John’s-wort
Square-stalked St John’s-wort
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.
I didn’t find this rather stunted Great Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) until most of its flowers had disappeared.
This is Spiked Water-milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) in our pond
I have cropped the photo above as this shows the red fruits a little more clearly. Not a good image, I know.
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.
This is Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) growing in a ditch on my route to my mother’s house
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.
Meadowsweet. The leaves have three to five pairs of oval leaflets with smaller leaflets between
Rosehips (Rosa canina) in our hedge
Spindle berries (Euonymus europaeus) maturing in our hedge
Elderberries (Sambucus nigra) in our garden
New catkins forming on the Hazel trees (Corylus avellana) in early September
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!