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These new-to-me plant finds served as a welcome reminder that I should vary my walking routes more often, as I spotted both along a woodland path I don’t often wander.

220717 common figwort

This first plant is Common figwort (Scrophularia nodosa). Richard Mabey, in Flora Britannica, explains the name: ‘The “fig” in figwort is an old word for piles [haemorrhoids], which both the globular red flower-buds and the root-protuberances were thought to resemble. Figwort was recommended for piles and also for the tubercular swellings of scrofula, “the King’s Evil”.’

Common figwort is a rare plant locally so I returned to the site during last Friday’s walk, hoping for another look and better photos, but I was both dismayed and angered to find that the Woodland Trust’s maintenance team had been through shortly before I got to the location, and their overly aggressive strimming of the path’s edges had destroyed the plant. Sadly, this is just the latest in a series of issues I have noted with the Woodland Trust’s mismanagement of this glorious ancient woodland.

220717 wood vetch

Fortunately, the Wood vetch (Vicia sylvatica) had not been affected, probably because it was scrambling along a backward-sloping bank so out of the strimmers’ line of attack. At a glance, this vetch’s flowers look white but a closer look reveals the delicate beauty of their fine purple lines.