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.
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.
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.