I was initially puzzled by this wildflower, growing lush and plentiful along the southern and eastern edges of the old Bute East Dock in central Cardiff. The structure reminded me of a dead-nettle but it wasn’t till I got home, checked my photos and did some online research that I discovered this is Gypsywort (or Gipsywort, depending on how you choose to spell that word) (Lycopus europaeus). It’s a wildflower I’ve only seen a couple of times previously and never in such profusion.
The intriguing name, according to Richard Mabey in Flora Britannica, comes from the fact that the plant can be used to produce a black dye that, people once believed, was used by Gypsies to darken their skin. More likely it was used by Gypsy fortune tellers, as the WildflowerFinder website suggests, to dye their clothes black.
You must be logged in to post a comment.