It’s Botany! It’s not Walkthebloomin’Dogany!

It is hard to write a nature blog in January. Today I have been focussed on botany but for all of her admirers I will start you off with a little walkthebloomin’Dogany.

Fizz has a new game. I throw the ball and she chases it. Then, when any proper Dog would bring it back to me with a wagging tail, Fizz lies down and waits for me to catch up and tickle her before she will give it up.


Is that what your Dog does?

No! I didn’t think so.

We went up to the wood today to see if the Lesser Celandine was going to flower in January. No chance. The flower buds are there but they haven’t grown at all.

Lesser CelandineI am not really surprised, it didn’t flower until late February last year and although I am hoping it will be earlier this year, I didn’t really expect it to be a month earlier.

Now I will just show you this little fungus that I found. This is Scarlet Elf Cup.

Scarlet Elf CupIt isn’t a great example so I am not really going to write about it. I know where we found it and I will look out for better samples. It is a nice splash of colour in an otherwise drab post.

Scarlet Elf CupAnother wildflower that is on the cusp is Dog’s Mercury

Dog's MercuryThese are not the flowers but the buds, they are not ready to open yet.

Dog's MercuryThe most exciting thing that has happened to me in the last couple of days (Shut up! Fizz!). The most exciting thing has been finding these beautifully marked leaves of the Arum maculatum.

Wild ArumIt is quite common to find blotched markings on the leaves of Wild Arum but when I came to write about it, I kind of let that information slide. I didn’t have the photographs to illustrate it, so I left it out.

I leave a lot of stuff out of my posts for exactly this reason. Nobody ever comments, “Hey Col, you didn’t show the development of the seed pods.” I didn’t have the pictures but I am aware of what I leave out and I will get the pictures next time around.

Wild Arum

Wild ArumThis is the youngest Arum maculatum that I have ever photographed.

Wild ArumToday I wrote about a wildflower with evergreen leaves, well evervariegated leaves and I will show you in a minute. I had to delve back into my picture from last year and I found a lot of good stuff for this flower, that I had taken last January.

While I was there I had a look at what else I was doing last January and these next pictures are from exactly a year ago.

It is quite funny really, regular readers will understand what I mean. It seems that the season dictates my actions. A year ago today I was messing about in the woods.

Rotten Apples

Trail CameraI was pretty sure then and still think so today, that although it is indistinct, that is the print of a Wild Boar.

Print..and I got a lot of Fallow Deer.


Fallow DeerThe other thing that I found amazing, exactly one year ago, guess what was in the garden?

Long -tailed TitsYes! Bumbarrels! They hardly ever visit but at exactly the same time last year.

BTW. This time last year the weather was a lot worse than it is now.


WetSo today I wrote about a wildflower called Variegated Yellow Archangel. I know that it is a bit of a mouthful and the Latin doesn’t help. I am writing about it now because it is evergreen and although the flowers are a long way off you very well may see the foliage now. It is quite distinct and easy to recognise.

Before I show you the variegated variety let me just show you this.

This is our native Yellow Archangel.

Yellow Archangel

and the Non-native.

Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum, The Variegated Yellow Archangel.

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)Variegated Yellow Archangel is a type of Dead-nettle. Also known as Garden Archangel, it is a close relative of our native Yellow Archangel looking quite similar but with variegated leaves.

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)It is a garden escapee having been introduced into this country in the 1940’s and first recorded in the wild in the 1980’s.

It was introduced as a ground cover plant as it has attractive variegated leaves that are evergreen or semi-evergreen. It spreads by runners and covers areas quickly.

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)In the UK it is considered to be invasive and a threat to our ancient woodland plant species but just how invasive it is remains a question still unanswered.

This Archangel doesn’t seem to be having a great impact on our ancient woodlands. It seems to prefer the woodland edge and not to be spreading into the woods. My own observations are of Lesser Celandine, Wood Anemones and Bluebells growing freely amongst Variegated Yellow Archangel and the plant does seem to be restricted to the edge.

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)The seed produced by the plant is said to be infertile and this limits it’s ability to spread into new areas. Most commonly, when it is introduced into a new area it is the work of man, either deliberately introducing it to beautify our woodland or through the dumping of garden waste or soil. New plants can arise from just a small piece of root.

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)Summer leaves appear to be mostly green, marked with silver but winter foliage is often quite red.

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)However the colour can vary quite a lot.

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)The leaves are quite hairy on the top surface and less so underneath.

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)That is the winter foliage, in April the flowers arrive.

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)Like other Dead-nettles the flowers grow in whorls around a square, central stem with the lower ones opening first.

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)The petals are fused into a corolla that forms a tube with a hood above the opening and a three lobed lip. the central lobe of the bottom lip is striped with orange markings.

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)The hood is quite hairy.  Under the hood there are four stamens, two long and two short.

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)In the centre of the stamens there is a downward pointing spike. It’s purpose may be to trigger the release of pollen when it is touched by an insect. The flowers are a source of nectar and pollen.

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum) Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)   Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)   Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)


Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Lamiales

Family: Lamiaceae

Genus: Lamium

Species: Lamium galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum

Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. Argentatum)Wildflowers in winter 🙂

Botany Schmotany!

FizzThere is an Angel looking over you. That flower is poisonous. Spit!

56 thoughts on “It’s Botany! It’s not Walkthebloomin’Dogany!”

  1. Um, I’m beginning to think Fizz may have a problem…he may have a tennis ball addiction I’m afraid. Quite possibly could use some special help with that, see a counselor or something. I’m not sure there’s any antidote for it sadly, but in the movie he looked pretty obtunded at first. I was worried. But I’m speaking from a paramedic’s point of view of course, not a vet. 😉


    1. Thank you Amy 🙂 Fizz has a serious problem. She believes that life is a game. That thing with the playing dead is only one of the ways that she returns the ball to me. Sometimes she comes back to me and offers me the ball, going to pains to get it right to the front of her mouth before holding it out for me to take. Sometimes she is much more difficult, there is a gate that we often pass, when she sees it she has a little “gate game,” She crawls under the gate and sits on the other side looking at me, when I climb over she goes under to the other side and waits for me to climb it again. She has so many ways of playing and I try to explain that life is serious but I think that you are right, she needs counselling 🙂


  2. Don’t worry about Fizz. That dog is messing with your mind. In the movie there is that tiny little tail twitch anf then the look over the shoulder to make sure you are going to play and then she goes still again. She’s a clever little puppy she is!
    You still haven’t put in a size indicator in the flower pics. I have a book on vegetables of the world and the photographer places his wedding ring in each photo. At least it’s something useful for a wedding ring to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you John 🙂 I haven’t forgotten about the size indicator but I am still largely working with last years photographs. I agree that it is very important but remarrying seems a high price to pay for botanical accuracy and I might just get one of those little six inch rulers.


  3. That Fizz is quite a character – so funny and adorable.
    Lamium is a favorite garden plant of mine, it is so versatile. I haven’t found it invasive at all, seems easy to control. I have white, purple, pink, but no yellow. I’ll have to look for that.


  4. No, my dog doesn’t insist on a tickle, but it’s cute the Fizz does! My dog is done playing fetch when she takes the ball into her crate.
    We must have gobs of plants similar to the Lamium, or other versions of Lamium, because my ground cover with the tiny purple blooms is Lamium, and I suppose it fights with the Speedwell, which is also invasive. I adore invasive plants. Even the ones other people don’t like, if they’re pretty, I leave them. I call them wanted weeds.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for this post info. You’ve now explained my confusion over a yellow Dead Nettle flower I’d photographed and identified.
    I was wondering if I’d made a mistake.
    You’ve now explained that variegated Yellow Archangel IS a type of Dead Nettle.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have one Fizz-ish dog…Ginger likes to have me come to her so she can growl and tell me it is her ball thank you very much and would you please leave her alone to enjoy it. Lucy is the opposite, quite ball )and return) obsessed like a true golden retriever should be. I have lamium in my barn garden and it totally taking over…perhaps I should try it in the shade garden to create a good base.


    1. Thanks Virginia 🙂 All of my dogs have been different. I once had a little Collie who would never come to me but throw the ball down several feet away from me every time. Fizz is the most creative Dog that I have ever met.


      1. Yeah, our Sheltie liked to be chased when he had the ball…Lucy brings it right to my feet…most of the time. Creative dogs are the best.


  7. I really wasn’t even going to mention it, but because of your post-title, I think I will tell you that I gave you a shout-out on my site today explaining to my readers that it was yourself who taught me about the purpose of those lovely distinct lines gracing a couple of the photos I took today of some pansies and some primroses in one of our local hotel gardens. At least I think I got it right, and if you have the time to check, you can find your Botanist praises being sung at “Vancouver Visions“. In case you are in a real hurry, skip to the second to last paragraph (after the gallery). Hopefully, I got everything correct.


    1. I went to your Blog…a good read…and you complimented Colin and his sweet dog, Fizz. Your flowers are lovely. Colin has taught us to look down, also. I tell some of my ambulatory friends to remember to do that.


  8. I’ve never seen pics of bumbarrels until your blog. Lovely looking and a little unusual with those long tails and short fat bodies. I would expect shorter tails on birds that shape (well, at least here in Australia anyway). Bumbarrel is an interesting name as well!
    I also have a little fuzzy dog and even though she’s ancient still loves to chase things I throw. She never brings them back though. Just plays with them and bats them about with her front paws until I go up to her and kick it away again for her to follow. I get quite a lot of exercise! Fizz is a clever dog. I think I’d play that game too if I was a dog – a tummy tickle sounds delightful. I enjoy all the botany pics as well. Lots of nice detail there.


    1. Thank you Jane 🙂 Our Long-tailed Tits seem to be confined to Europe and Asia. We do have a lot of different short-tailed Tits. The Bumbarrels are not regular garden visitors, maybe their long tails give them an advantage when chasing insects.


  9. Loved the Scarlet Elf Cup or should that be “Cap”? Apparently, I think I red somewhere, Long-tailed Tits only recently learnt to visit bird tables and because of this, their population is expanding. Very windy and wanting to snow here!


    1. Thank you John 🙂 Cup or Cap, it’s interchangeable. Interesting info on the Long-tailed Tits, I would love to see more of them. It has been snowing on and off here all day but raining when not snowing and nothing is laying.


  10. Oh my Colin, you are rhyming a lotany!
    That sweet charming Fizz is just spoiled rotteny
    It’s lovely to see flowers when we ain’t got any
    Hope spring is soon, I’ll knock on the mahogany
    Love your posts and all your blogany
    They are fun and chase away the winter monotony
    Need I go on any?
    I’ll shut up now before they give me a lobotomy. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Your posts are always uplifting to me. Thanks for the little yellow alien flowers (I can’t remember their name). I have plans for these little guys, as well as some of the interesting leaves. Can’t wait to start working on them. Happy Trails!!


  12. As always an entertaining and informative post~ love the wee bumbarrels! Just wondered if you were aware or had read anywhere that this year in the U.K there are a record number of plants in flower already~ instead of the usual reported 20 to 30 species in flower , this year there have been 368! I am including a link to a BBC website article in case you are interested. Thank you for yet another very lovely and interesting post.


    1. Thank you Val 🙂 That is a fantastic count and thanks for the link. I hadn’t thought of Gorse, I know where that will be in flower but generally I am looking for the “Signs of spring,” flowers. Daisies, Red Campion, Herb Robert and of course Dandelions can all be found close to home and I could pretty much guarantee finding Bramble somewhere close but these are just flowers that grow locally in such abundance that there will always be the odd one in flower out of season but I could just as easily have found them in December or any other month. I am actually about 500 feet above sea level, the river Severn is quite close and down there I would find a lot more. Everything is at least two weeks ahead of us. The Blackthorn was a month ahead last year.


  13. Another wonderful post. The flowers are lovely, last winter’s muddy pools are best seen in photos and the last photo of Fizz trying to eat a poisonous flower is priceless. Those eyes melt ones heart.


  14. Fizz is a very funny dog! We have Yellow Archangel here but I haven’t seen the variegated type yet. The Dog’s Mercury and the Arum are both coming up round our big pond and you are right – it isn’t as wet this winter as last, thank goodness!


    1. Thank you Clare 🙂 I read that the variegated type is becoming much more common than the native so you are lucky. We have them both here but I don’t know for how long. Whilst the variegated is said to produce infertile seed of it’s own I have read that it can hybridise with the native species.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Gin 🙂 No, that would be too easy. Some Bedstraws, Plantains, Figworts, Willowherbs, Saxifrages and St John’s Worts have square stems too. I just looked that up 🙂 It is a feature of the Mint family but it is not exclusive.

      Liked by 1 person

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