Tuesday, 28 April 2020

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)

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