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‘Modestly cheerful’ – this is how Richard Mabey describes Common whitlowgrass (Erophila verna) in Flora Britannica. He continues: ‘The small white flowers are amongst the first to appear in March, and are followed by seed-pods a little like miniaturised versions of honesty’s.’

220313 common whitlowgrass (1)

He also explains that the name is due to the plant’s use by medieval herbalists to treat whitlows, not a medical condition I was familiar with but which the Oxford Dictionary defines as ‘an abscess in the soft tissue near a fingernail or toenail’. I don’t recommend a Google image search as the condition looks quite gruesome, but these wildflowers, often present in large massed displays, are a delight.

220313 common whitlowgrass (2)