Black Wildflowers?

 

Ribwort Plantain:

Well they look black to me. It is really the bracts that are black, When the flowers open they will be brown with cream edges.Ribwort PlantainRibwort PlantainRibwort PlantainRibwort Plantain is one of the most common components of natural grassland and it is a valuable and nutritious food for grazing stock, this has led it to be considered an honorary grass by farmers and earned it the name Ribgrass but it is not a grass.

Ribwort Plantain is a wild flower from the family Plantaginaceae. The same family as the very pretty little speedwells.

(Common Field Speedwell)4 Common Field SpeedwellThe flower head is made up of numerous little flowers, each covered by a single bract. Each flower has four petals, Cream coloured with a brown centre. It has a single pistil and four stamens which end in creamy white anthers and give the open flower it’s characteristic appearance.

Ribwort Plantain flowerRibwort Plantain FlowerRibwort Plantain in flower.

Ribwort Plantain Flower Ribwort Plantain FlowerThe flower head is borne on a leafless, ribbed stalk

Ribwort Plantain StalkThe long, thin, basal leaves are also ribbed. Young leaves are considered edible but they get quite bitter with age and I don’t really bother with this one when foraging but they won’t kill you.

(Having said that I have just been reading that “Young leaves have a wonderful mushroom flavour” maybe I will give it another go)

Ribwort Plantain leafThe flowers are spent, the stamens have gone and only the stigmas remain. Stigmas are the pollen collecting part of the pistil.

Ribwort Plantain StigmaSo that is Ribwort Plantain. I like it because it is a bit different and interesting and like most things it turns out to be quite beautiful if you look closely. Plus it is raining again today.

Ribwort Plantain Ribwort Plantain Ribwort Plantain Ribwort Plantain

 

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