Bittersweet nightshade, British wildflowers, Common milkwort, Cut-Leaved crane’s-bill, Flax, Goat's-beard, Spring colour, Wood avens
Here are this week’s newly flowering wildflowers …
Bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara), also known as Woody nightshade and Deadly nightshade, though my Flora Britannica assures me this is actually one of the less poisonous members of the nightshade family.
Cut-leaved crane’s-bill (Geranium dissectum), one of the many lovely members of the extended Geranium family.
Flax (Linum usitatissimum), a small delicate plant, with beautiful pale blue flowers. This is rather different from the plant I, as a New Zealander, usually associate with this name – see my September 2018 post Flax.
Goat’s-beard (Tragopogon pratensis). As well as producing these glorious large sunny flowers, this wildflower, also known as Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon, has the most wonderful seedheads.
Wood avens (Geum urbanum) – you may know this wildflower by its alternate name of Herb Bennet.
Common milkwort (Polygala vulgaris). Discovered during my walk to Lavernock Nature Reserve earlier this week, this was the first time I’d seen this pretty little plant, though it’s very small and was almost hidden amongst the other wildflowers and grasses so it may be that I had simply overlooked it on previous visits.
One theory behind its common name is that the flowers of milkwort are shaped like udders and so medieval herbalists, following the ‘signature’ belief (that body parts can be treated by plants that resemble them), used to prescribe this plant to nursing mothers to increase their milk flow.
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