Wednesday 29 April 2020

Settle Wildflowers - Day 15 - Red Pink 2

With red we are ready to set  off on a new cycle of rainbow colours:

I shall put five plants here - if I wait another week, several of them will have finished flowering.The last two are really garden plants/trees, beautiful in the sun in Giggleswick Churchyard last week

Larch - photographed on 18 April - this has now turned greener on the trees

Early Purple Orchid: This grows on limestone grassland and sometimes in limestone woodland.  Several people sent in pictures

Early Purple Orchid by Tamsin Candeland on 21 April

Early Purple Orchid by Sheila Gordon


This was sent in two weeks ago by Steph

of Yorkshire Dales Guides

Is it a primrose or a false oxlip?
There are two interesting things
1. The colour - this red variety does occur  in the wild. (This one was found near Austwick)
2. It is a false oxslip - (I think)  (A cross between an oxlip and a cowslip). On the other hand, the leaves are more like primrose leaves than hybrid oxlip leaves. (If it were a cowslip there would be obvious leaf stalks at the base of the leaves.) and the petals are as large as primrose petals. Maybe it is just a freak primrose.


A view of the Giggleswick Church tower with Flowering Cherry in front.

Flowering Current - Ribes sanguineum - This is a garden plant that comes form W N America. the leaves should be scented when crushed. The photo was taken on 25 April on a beautiful sunny morning - The air is clear and there are no Aeroplane Trails because of the reduced aircraft.

Jeremy Bartlett wrote an excellent blog article on this here

I feature annother member of the current family.. Gooseberry - Ribes uva-crispa in my next post here 

Click here for  more flowers coming out around Settle

Tuesday 28 April 2020

Settle Wildflowers - Day 14 - White 5 - Woodland, base-rich

Three plants found at edges of woodland found on exercise walks this week around Settle, all three just coming out this week.

Plus one found too far away for me to walk to (12 miles) .. but that also grows in my garden

You should recognise the first -
 you would if you could smell it! 
Its name begins with G - well W. G.   
or else R.

The second has big flowers and big petals divided more than half way. and the initials of the name are G.S. Its petals look like white stitches
(not to be confused with its smaller relative, L.S.)

The third has very small white flowers

It leaves with three nerves and belongs to the same family as the one above. The picture on the right is extremely close up - i.e. it is small.
Its initials are T.N.S. ..

Number 4 is -- yes you recognise that too .. and by its smell. It is Lily of the Valley - chosen because 1st of May is 
La FĂȘte du muguet in France - Lily of the Valley Day.

So the first is wild Garic or Ramsons.
Isn't it beautiful when you see it close?

Here it is growing next to the path next to the Ribble in Settle, next to Settle College

This is Greater Stitchwort. If you ever see it growing with bluebells they look lovely together.  The very narrow leaves have tiny teeth.


Plant No. 3 is Three-nerved Sandwort.  

Three-nerved Sandwort - Moerhingia trinerva
A woodland annual of well drained loam soils especially warmer banks, and sometimes in hedgerows and beside walls.

It looks a bit like any other tiny white member of the stitchwort family (Caryophyllaceae) such as chickweeds, and sandworts but it is distinctive by its long flower stems, the very short petals compared to the sepals, and by the three nerves on the leaves.

I challenge any of you readers to tell me where you have found it near Settle!

I found it on my exercise walk near the river, but it is the first time I have found one near Settle - just show how these walks are making me observant.

And just some pictures of a repeat plant - Wood Anemones (See Day 1 ) because they are so beautiful. fluttering on the woodland floor with the light streaming through the trees.

Click here for  more flowers coming out around Settle

Settle Wildflowers - Day 13 - White 4 - Hedgerow

Three Wild Flowers we can see on our exercise walks round Settle
               (For more Wildflowers flowers  around Settle click here)

Two umbellifers will soon be whitening our roadsides

One native shrub - Bird Cherry - is already providing white mini-chandeliers.

The first umbellifer you will all know - Cow Parsley

The second many will not know, but those who do, will know and love it well: Sweet Cicely with its leaves that when crushed, smell of aniseed.

These two umbellifers key out in the books the same until the last line: They both have three times pinnate leaves, the leaves are slightly hairy, they both have hollow stems. Then they split:

Plants aromatic - Sweet Cicely.
Plants not aromatic - Cow Parsley

I used to wonder why some meadows around Malham village would go white with Cow Parsley would go yellow with buttercups. It is because Cow Parsley is a nitrophile and grows well where there is a lot of nitrogen compounds in the soil especially nitrates More references here and a good one here

So maybe it is appropriate that my first picture of it in Stainforth village a week ago has it growing amongst nettles.


Cow Parsley on the road to Stainforth, near Fairhurst's
By mid May our verges will be white with this plant. It is also called Queen Anne's Lace


The second umbellifer, Sweet Cicely is much less common and is usually found on verges near villages. There will be lots coming out now on the road to Malham Tarn, near Cowside, had I the energy to walk that far.

I discovered a plant on the footpath beside the river Ribble next to Settle College. Here is another lady looking at it. She is saying "Why are you making me look at this plant Judith?"

Sweet Cicely

Mmmm I can smell the aniseed just looking at it.

This plant is called a "neophyte" - in that it was introduced to the country relatively recently. It is first recorded in the wild in 1777. 

In botany, a neophyte is a plant species which is not native to a geographical region, and was introduced in recent history. It is native to mountains of C &S Europe. Many sites in UK are near houses or old settlements.

Plant number 3 is Bird Cherry

This is definitely a native plant, and a northern one at that. It prefers basic soils. 

We don't have many native trees in the UK. I love to see it at Colt Park near Ribblehead, and area of native woodland where it must make up about a quarter of the trees - amongst the Ash, Rowan, and a little Hawthorn and Sloe. But Ribblehead is too far away to walk to. 

But we can see it in Settle. 

Bird cherry bottom left, below the pink flowering cherry. 
Photographed from near the bridge, - beside the path, next to the Old Middle School/Freda's Nursery/ Swimming pool, and next to the Football Field

Here it is in the furthest corner awy from the church in Giggleswick churchyard on 23 April

(For more flowers  recorded on exercise walks around Settle click here)

Saturday 25 April 2020

Settle Wildflowers - Day 12 - Blue 4 - Violet

More blue flowers of stony dry habitats:

I found these three gems growing in a row last week on Bankwell Road, Giggleswick, between the cobbles and the wall

1. Ivy-leaved Speedwell  - already flowering for two months in several places from the banks of the footpath up the side of the old top at the Hoffman Kiln, to the path as Stackhouse, to several path sides in Settle.  Veronica hederifolia.
Most leaves only have 5 lobes  or teeth (central tooth and two on each side) making it easy to distinguish from other speedwell species which have more teeth.
The individual flowers are 3 mm across

2. Lambs Lettuce - this is the first time I remember finding this (edible) plant growing in the Settle area - Valerianella-locusta

The individual flowers are about 2 mm across.

3. Ivy- leaved Toadflax - this grows on walls. Odd flowers may have existed since New Years Day but it has blossomed so colourfully this week that it deserves to be described now. Cymbalaria muralis

When the flower turns into a fruit the flower stem elongates and the fruit is poked into a crack in the wall ready to grow into a plant another year.

And just to remind you what Ivy leaves look like (see leaves on left) and to enjoy the very dark berries here is a picture I took this morning entering the path to Giggleswick Golf Course 

Click here for  more flowers coming out around Settle

Settle Wildflowers - Day 11 Blue 3 - Indigo

I wasn't going to do bluebells  till next week as I think of Wood Anemones in April and Bluebells in May.  But by popular demand - and because the hot dry weather is bringing everything forward.. It is Bluebells today!
And two of my other favorites: Blue Moor-grass and Blue Bugle. 
Indeed like the London buses (used to be)  I'm now doing run of three blue days.  I will  have three more blue (violet) flowers tomorrow.

And I'll talk about the  conundrum of the colour indigo - see end of this post.

1.  Bluebells 
Native bluebells with their narrow tubes, curled up petals and narrow leaves are just coming out e.g. in Craven Bank Lane above Giggleswick and in many of our woods, and on steep banksthat may have been woodlands once.

A. Native Bluebells

B. Spanish Bluebells. These are garden plants - and a problem when they escape to the wild because they hybridize with our native species. Spanish Bluebells the flower heads are wider and they hang on all sides of the stem, not just one side, and the leaves are wider.

Top of Rose Hill / Bottom of the Mains, Giggleswick:  Not sure if these are hybrids or if they are Spanish Bluebells. Definitely not native ones.

 I refer you to specialist websites for this. e.g. gardening which   and BSBI

2. Blue Bugle:

This was growing on the hillside above the path from Langcliffe to Lower Winskill. It likes hedgerows and woodland edge and banks.

Plant 3: Blue Moor-grass

Blue Moor grass is the first grass to flower - It comes out in March.  By now (late April) it is getting taller and losing its blueness.

It grows where there are limestone cliffs. So there is a tiny bit on Castleberg Crag, and lots on the hill higher up, and on the top of Giggleswick Quarry and on Giggleswick Scar.  It grows on the little cliff at the layby in Winskill Stones Planlife Reserve.

People come all the way to Yorkshire  (And Lancs and Cumbria) to see Blue Moor-grass. Here is the distribution map

Blue Moor-grass

Click here for  more flowers coming out around Settle

The three plants above  are sort of indigo colour.

But what colour is indigo?

I was brought up constantly referring to my American cousin
Roy G. Biv 
Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.

But I had some unease because my experience of indigo - -the vats in Kano, Northern Nigeria - where they die cloth indigo colour - use a dye that is navy blue or slightly yellower blue than one that is a violet blue. - See colour of dye from the indigo plant here

Now I discover that it was Newton who decided that there should be seven colours in the rainbow.. and he chose the colours - It was just his personal choice to have seven colours rather than six (or any other number for that matter because the rainbow is a spectrum of colours).

Thursday 23 April 2020

Settle Wildflowers - Day 10 - Blue 2

No it's not bluebells yet - they are for later.

Today it's Speedwells: -  Down on your hands and knees to find these tiny sapphire gems.  

Tiny speedwells.  They all have four petals, staring from a tube, and with one petal smaller than the other three.  We had one last week - Slender Speedwell, but these three have smaller flowers

First the one that is most turquoise: (sea /cyan / )

Speedwell Number 1: 
Thyme leaved Speedwell. It has simple leaves. The leaves are not toothed and they are not hairy. They grow in pastures, and sometimes in lawns.

This one was growing in the pasture south of the Hoffman Kiln today
See the white stigmas and blue anthers

And this one is in Booth's Car Park

Plot in Booths Car Park with Thyme Leaved Speedwell


Speedwell Number 2: 
This is opposite Trevor's Market Shop. 
and Shucks - I've looked in the book and there are three different ones it could be.. I shall have to go back and look even more closely. Maybe I will need the fruit.
Let's just call it Field Speedwell for now. 


Speedwell number 3: Last but   not least -
Well actually it is the least.. It has the tiniest of flowers about 2mm across..  almost at the resolution of my camera 

found - in  the cobbles below the Coop, and also the pavement next to the Bank near the florists:

 Wall Speedwell.

Wall Speedwell - cobbles near the Coop
next to the wall of Lloyds Bank -see the Settle florists over the road

Same but closer
And whilst we are here let's admire the yellow lichen on the wall: Caloplaca citrina and the moss: Wall Screw-moss 

 May you go well on your jouney - speed well.

Click here for  more flowers coming out around Settle