29th June 2014

Sorting out the 3 small yellow flowers of the Rose family, out at this time of year, with creeping runners and rounded petalled flowers, can be tricky at this time of year, so here they are. Tormentil is the smallest and grows very close to the ground in heathland, moorland and grassland. This one is the only one of the 3 with four petals. It has been used as a red dye and all 3 have been used in herbal medicine, as astringents and anti-diorrhea treatments, among other things. The roots of Tormentil are used in a bitter liqueur called Blutwurz, made in the Black Forest, The name is thought to derive from its use to ease tormenting gripes of the intestines. The next in size is Cinquefoil, from the Old French for five-leaved. The flower has five petals . The Cinquefoil has been used extensively in herbal medicine, the five-fingered leaves thought to represent the five senses. They were also believed to scare off witches and evil forces! A decoction of the roots can be used to treat fevers, toothaches etc. The largest of these creeping plants is the Silverweed and, though they have five-petalled flowers like the Cinquefoil they are easily distinguished by their long, fringed leaves which have either silver both sides or on the back. The Silverweed has beed cultivated as an edible pant for its roots, as well as being used for herbal treatments. Its leaves are very absorbent and they have been used in the shoes of people with very sweaty feet, to absorb the sweat!

The tiny, four-petalled Tormentil.

The tiny, four-petalled Tormentil.

Cinquefoil, with five petalled flowers and five fingered leaves.

Cinquefoil, with five petalled flowers and five fingered leaves.

 

Silverweed. with five-petalled flowers and long leaves, always silver-backed and sometimes silver fronted.

Silverweed. with five-petalled flowers and long leaves, always silver-backed and sometimes silver fronted.

Conditions: Cloudy with some sun and showers. Temperature: Max 18- Min 11 c

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