Contemplating My Navel

Literally the phrase is used to describe somebody who is spending too much time thinking about their own problems but with me, of course, it means something quite different.

We went up to the Bluebell woods today and they were still not quite ready for us, there are plenty of flowers but it is not a sea of blue yet is good, it means that we haven’t missed anything. Our Bluebell woods are beautiful and you wouldn’t want to miss them.

BluebellsA lot of the wood still looks like this..

BluebellsThe flowers are there but they have a little way to go yet.



BluebellsThere are a lot of Bluebells in the hedgerows and tracks around the farm and they are a bit more advanced than this, probably because they get more sunlight.

Our hedgerows seem to retain a lot of the characteristics of ancient woodland, Β which they would have been before they were turned into farmland and I see a lot of species that are regarded as “ancient woodland indicators” growing there. Maybe I will do a post about that soon. The Bluebell is one such species.

7This is a derelict Sweet Chestnut coppice and this is where we filmed the Boar. I know some much nicer Oak and Beech woods that will also be filling up with Bluebells and we will visit them soon.

So we struck out with the Bluebells, what are we going to do now?

I suggested to Fizz that we might go and contemplate my navel.

She looked impressed.

BluebellsYou probably won’t be much more impressed yourself it is not visually striking.

This is Navelwort.

NavelwortThese first two pictures were taken in February, when I first discovered it.

This is new to me and I have never seen it in flower. I had never even heard of it and that doesn’t happen to me very often so I have been watching it closely. I am very excited about my Navelwort.

NavelwortIt flowers in May and today I saw the flower spikes starting to emerge.


NavelwortIt looks a little bit strange, that is because it is a succulent. Succulents are plants with thick, fleshy leaves and stems that are specially adapted for storing water, like a cactus. They usually live in very dry places and we don’t have many native succulent plants, probably because the UK is a very wet place. This one is special.


NavelwortIt is edible and I have read that it has a very nice flavour similar to fresh lettuce. I haven’t ever tasted it and I will tell you why…

I have actually just been watching a video about edible Navelwort. It started with the presenter going on about what a rare find it was and he hadn’t seen one like this for years and then he ate it.

There is a basic rule when it comes to foraging, unless you are starving, don’t take things that are not abundant and don’t ever take the last one or even most of them. It is common sense.

The Navelwort that I have found is not abundant and most of what I saw in February has been eaten by animals. They don’t respect anything but then most of them are starving.

NavelwortAnother name for this plant is Wall Pennywort (It grows on stone walls) and the Latin isΒ Umbilicus rupestris. It has medicinal uses but I haven’t really looked into that yet and these little flower buds are going to grow into tall spikes of flowers. I will show you when it happens.

NavelwortWell that is it for today. We did see a lot of other wildflowers and we romped about in fields of golden yellow but those are other posts πŸ™‚

28 thoughts on “Contemplating My Navel”

    1. Thank you Andrew πŸ™‚ I was catching up with your posts at around 3 AM. Lovely garden and having your own Green Woodpeckers must be great. I haven’t had a lot of luck with them, they are very hard to creep up on and they laugh at your efforts as they fly away. I am good at recognising the field signs though.

      Mini post:


      Yaffle poop

      There is something very interesting about Yaffle Poop.

      Yaffle Poop

      You have to have a good look.

      Yaffle Pop

      It is full of little animals πŸ™‚

      Yaffle Poop

      Liked by 1 person

  1. According to the “Doctrine of Signatures” I wonder what it would say about navelwort. I wonder if any scientific studies have been made regarding the doctrine. Keep on tramping. I would love it if you had a doppelganger in Australia.
    I have just been discovered by a Western Australian blog called
    She deals a lot with native WA plants. You might like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you John πŸ™‚ Culpeper knew it as Kidneywort and he says that it is

      “very effectual for all inflammations and unnatural heats, to cool a fainting hot stomach, a hot liver, or the bowels”

      I think that there is definitely a “Belly Button” thing going on there.

      I will check out Ockhamsrazor ASAP. You and Becky took up most of my evening yesterday (time well spent) and now I see that you have written more and one for me. I will be around to visit in a bit. Many thanks my friend.


  2. We drove 20 miles south for a sea of bluebells in Hertfordshire last weekend, then today in a nearby wood they were looking pretty good too, interesting to see so many still in leaf where you are. Lots to look forward to!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Julie πŸ™‚ We are about 500 feet up but only a few minutes from sea level and it really does make a difference. Just a few minutes away everything is a good two weeks ahead of us. Our Blackthorn is still in blossom and I expect they have got their Hawthorn out by now. Still it is nice to know that we have it all to come πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Our bluebells are at the same stage as yours. I am waiting impatiently as I really love blue flowers and bluebells are so beautifully scented too. I am really not at all sure if I have seen navelwort before. I knew of it and would recognise it. I have a vague feeling I have seen it somewhere but can’t for the life of me remember where. Maybe I imagined it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Clare πŸ™‚ I am looking forward to that time when the Bluebells are so thick on the ground that the whole forest is scented and echoing with drumming Woodpeckers and birdsong. It must be the best time of year.

      I have looked at pictures of the Navelwort in flower but that doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm to see it for myself. Looking it up on the internet just doesn’t give me a feel for how the flowers develop and what happens afterwards. Watching it grow is much more than just a picture πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I quite agree, Colin. We are going to have to go out on a bluebell hunt in the next few days. I have heard that many of the Suffolk bluebell woods are beautiful right now, though our local ones aren’t quite there yet. I know what you mean about watching plants grow. I remember years ago discovering how snowdrop buds grow. I hadn’t really thought about it before – one day green leaves, next day drooping flowers – it was a revelation!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Glad to see the Bluebells emerging. I think that was one of my favourite flowers when I lived in Sussex in the late 1970s and I have some very memorable photos of a walk I took when they were at their peak.

    I looked up Wall Pennywort (and under the Latin name) in A Modern Herbal by Mrs M Grieve and couldn’t find it at all. This rather heavy English encyclopaedia has most plants with therapeutic uses, so Wall Pennywort must be rare indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, just found it in the plant directory under Kidneywort…..seems to have quite a few uses, most of which I would replace with more commonly found herbs (or essential oils used in Aromatherapy these days).


  5. I really enjoyed your kind of navel gazing! When they first start to grow, the new leaves on stalks remind me of a clump of mushrooms. I will keep an eye out for similar plants here and take some pictures. My backyard patch of green is full of all sorts of little green plants that I have no idea about. Thank you for reminding us about why you shouldn’t just eat a plant because it’s edible. I think back in history to a time when collectors were quite competitive with insect, plant and other collections. I wonder how many species became rare or extinct because of this race to collect something that no-one else has. Lovely post, Colin. Thank you. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jane πŸ™‚ I must admit that when I first saw it I wasn’t completely certain that it was a plant πŸ™‚


      I wasn’t really thinking about UK succulents. I expect that you have quite a variety of succulents in Australia though.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Emily πŸ™‚ It is nice to see your woods.. Born in the South, I lived in Yorkshire for seven years before I had to move to London for the work. I thought that I had moved to a tropical paradise, it just seemed so warm and sunny. I bet the Bluebells aren’t out in Wakefield yet πŸ™‚


  6. So glad you are back, Colin, and await the stroll thru the Bluebells. I will have to imagine the wonderful fragrance.
    The information about the succulents was interesting also. Pat Fizz for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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