Earlier this year, when we were in full lockdown and our Council, in their stupidity, closed the spacious local country park even to local pedestrians, I was one of many who looked for alternative places, other than too-narrow pavements, to walk, and in the process discovered a disused lane that leads to farm fields, which, this year, have not been leased for crop growing. These fields are where, in recent months, I’ve seen many nice birds, and plants like the Musk thistle I blogged about in July and the Lesser burdock from August’s Burdock Beasties. These are a few more finds from those fields.
Redshank (Persicaria maculosa)
Of course, you can find Redshank in many diverse locations – it thrives along the lane behind my flat – but it seems to be doing particularly well in this arable landscape. You may notice that Redshank bears a strong resemblance to the Amphibious bistort I blogged about on Thursday – they are both from the genus Persicaria, and, if you want to know more about this fascinating plant, I recommend you read the entry on the Plant Lore website, which will explain why one East Anglian name for the plant is ‘devil’s arse-wipe’!
Greater plantain (Plantago major)
Its name may be Greater plantain but I think this is the Greatest plantain I’ve ever seen – it was huge. The Plantlife website has some fascinating information about this plant:
A common name is Rat’s tails which perfectly describes the plant’s flowering spike. Another vernacular name is Angels’ harps because when you pull the leaves apart you get the fibres showing between. This is also the likely explanation for the names Banjos and Beatles’ guitars.
Plantain has healing powers since the leaves contain tannins and astringent chemicals, which can make them useful styptics if crushed and applied to small cuts.
Common field-speedwell (Veronica persica)
I have trouble identifying the various members of the Speedwell family but I’m fairly confident about this one – it was low and sprawling and hairy, and its solitary flowers were on stems growing from the bases of the upper leaves. A check of its seed capsules would’ve clinched it but I forgot to look at those. As its name implies, Common field-speedwell is commonly found in fields – in fact, my footpath today took me along the edge of a field where the farmer is growing maize and the soil between the maize plants was completely covered by this lovely plant with its delicate blue flowers.