If all seeds that fall were to grow, then no one could follow
the path under the trees. ~ Nigerian proverb
If you thought I’d exaggerated about how wet last month was, it’s official – Derek, the Welsh BBC weatherman, yesterday tweeted that ‘October was wetter than average in Wales with 208mm of rain’. Temperatures and sunshine were also below normal, and, having just returned from a long local walk, I can tell you it’s very squelchy out there. Still, the wet has its compensations as today’s seedheads testify.
‘The vegetable life does not content itself with casting from the flower or the tree a single seed, but it fills the air and earth with a prodigality of seeds, that, if thousands perish, thousands may plant themselves, that hundreds may come up, that tens may live to maturity; that, at least one may replace the parent.’
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Chapter 6: Nature, Essays, Second Series, 1844.
This seedpod is a mystery to me.
I found it alongside the path through Grangemoor Park in Cardiff, just two dried up stems about 12 inches tall, with seedpods – four in total – at the tips of each branched stem. No leaves remained and I saw no other similar plants anywhere along the path.
The structure of the seedpod is glorious, so sculptural. I brought two pods home with me, and one has now split into quarters, with small brown seeds spilling out of it.
But what is this plant? I’ve tried looking online but found nothing that matches. Of course, the solution would be to plant the seeds but I do not have a garden. I could try planting a couple of seeds in a pot but I’d rather return the seeds to the wild where I found them. So, if there are any botanists or plant people out there who recognise this seedpod, please do let me know in the comments below. Thanks!
p.s. Thanks to Barbara Brown, of BSBI Wales, I now know this is a species of Datura, possibly Datura stramonium, the Thorn-apple. In this case, the seedpod has lost all its flesh making it look a little different from the images I’ve found online.
This is Clematis vitalba, commonly known as Traveller’s joy though, at this time of year, when its feathery seeds festoon hedgerows, clamber over fences, and bedeck stone walls, I think its other common name of Old man’s beard is more apt. Today, the Old men’s beards were looking a little damp and they’ll now be completely sodden – I managed a walk early this morning before the heavy rain came in.
They glisten silver and gold in the late autumn sunshine these Carline thistles, with their thick fringe of papery bracts and heads of soft golden down. I blogged about the flowers last year; now here are the ‘everlasting’ seed heads that can be seen all through the chilly months of winter.
With its seeds attached to tiny botanical parachutes that can be distributed far and wide by the wind, the Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale agg.) has evolved an extremely efficient method of disseminating its seed. It’s not surprising, then, that many other species use a very similar method to disperse their seeds.
I don’t think I’m getting my wish this time around!