Monday, 13 April 2020

Settle Wildflowers - Day 3 - Green

Flowers we can see in our gardens and exercise walks around Settle this month. 

Saturday 11 April was White flowers, Sunday 12th was Yellow flowers.   Today Monday 13th the colour is Green flowers around Settle, N Yorkshire

(and listen to  "The Passion in Plants" on BBC radio4 whilst it is still available this month - see our second plant below) 

Flower 1: 
Its initials are D M.
You may not know its name, but you'll all have walked on or through this if you've walked in the woods or along hedgerows around Settle.

(Picture by Geoff Morries)

This carpets the floors of our local woodlands if the bedrock is limestone or other non-acid soil. It grows in limestone pavement and along hedgerows if there is no grazing.
It is the height of a small nettle, though it does not sting. The plants are either male or female. This one is a male and the tiny make flowers on the stalks will have anthers.  

Dog's Mercury is poisonous so don't eat it!!

It has  is often found in ancient woodland, where other special plants grow.  It is not in itself an indicator of ancient woodland.  It has underground stems and can grow at a rate of about 3 foot a year along a new a hedgerow. So if there is already a few plants there it can spread into new woodland given one hundred years or so.


Flower 2:
This is one that botanists and country lovers get excited about. If you miss seeing its flowers in April , well it is hard to notice or find it again till the next year.
It grows in base rich soil, often at the base of a hedge or trackside.
It has several names: - the one I was taught is "Town Hall Clock.  It has four "clocks" one on each side of the tower"/shoot and one on the tip facing the sky.

Because it is so special I am not going to say exactly which path / lane I found it on, but I was delighted to find it so close to Settle.

The Scientific name is Adoxa moschatellina.

Moschatel means little musk.  It was once collected for its scent 
There has been a delightful series of five talks on wild flowers in radio four this week, late at night: "The Passion in Plants". as Bob Gilbert and Brother Sam of Hilfield Friary go on walks and look fro wildflowers with links to the Easter Story.
Talk 4 -"The Crucifixion - The orchid and the Aspen" include a section on Moschatel - or "Good Friday Plant" as they say it is also known as.

Moschatel - Town Hall Clock (Picture by Judith Allinson)


Flower 3

The third green flower I am gong to choose is Sycamore. It is barely out yet (13 April) - I always predict that the leaf buds will remain closed and then break on 16th April. 
But I have seen one or two branches that are breaking the rule:
Here is a sycamore flower from beside the Ribble near the Settle College/Middle School (as was) playing fields.

(Picture by Judith Allinson)

Can you see that the leaves look shiny?
As soon as the sycamore buds burst, greenfly leap into action. They suck sugar from the soft newly opening leaves and a lot spills out onto the leaf.

There will be "A hive of  activity" as insects seek to make use of the period as tree leaves open when the leaves are soft and tender to eat.

Tomorrows flower colour will be Blue.

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