23rd August 2014

The wonderful flowers of the Yellow Toadflax

The wonderful flowers of the Yellow Toadflax

Yellow Agrimony flower spikes.

Yellow Agrimony flower spikes.

The hooked seedpods of Yellow Agrimony

The hooked seedpods of Yellow Agrimony

For some reason all my text was wiped when I published today’s blog so here it is again! Three yellow wild flowers that are easy to see at the moment, and all good for nectar for insects. The Yellow Toadflax, also called Butter and Eggs or, more quaintly Bunny’s Mouths in some places, are like miniature Snapdragons. Only heavy insects like Bumble Bees can pollinate as they need to land on the lip and push inside to the nectar source. The Yellow Agrimony, no relation of the much bigger Hemp Agrimony, has long spikes of flowers. The rusty coloured seed-heads are burrs with hooks that catch in the coats of passing animals and thus get dispersed. Agrimony has been used for centuries- it used to be thought of as a cure for snake bites but now is used to treat digestive ailments and catarrh. The Common Fleabane has woolly leaves and stems. The scent is peculiar- Richard Mabey,  in his wonderful book ‘Flora Britannica’, describes it as ‘hints of chrysanthemum with carbolic soap’! Fleabane was burned or hung in bunches in buildings, to repel fleas, as its name suggests. Interestingly, a relative of this plant is used as a source of the insecticide ‘pyrethrum’ nowadays. Conditions: A day of sun and cloud with light showers and threatening clouds. Temperature: Max 16- Min 9C

Common Fleabane

Common Fleabane

 

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