Yesterday, I couldn’t help noticing that the catkins had opened and that coincided with my latest flower post, so that is my theme for today.
That is the male flower. Like a lot of hermaphrodite plants the female flowers open after the male catkins, a clever ruse to avoid self pollination and it will be weeks before we see any of these little red flowers.
The thing that I don’t get is that all of our local trees operate on the same time scale. All off the male flowers will start to open now and distribute their pollen and it will be a month before we see a single female flower. What a waste!
We would get a lot more Hazel nuts if the trees could get their act together.
Never mind, on with the theme 🙂
There’s too many! I can’t go on.
I have to stop there. There are loads more but I’ve still got to do the General.
Stachys sylvatica, The Hedge Woundwort
Hedge Woundwort is native to Europe and much of Asia, it can be found all over the UK with the exception of the Scottish Highlands.
A woodland plant it is most commonly found in woodland edge and hedgerow habitat. It is a member of the Mint family and sometimes called a Dead-nettle, although this one is not a Lamium.
Purple flowers grow in whorls above a pair of opposite leaves. The flower spike can be a metre tall.
The stem is very distinctive , being square and hairy with well defined purple corners.
The leaves grow in opposite pairs up the stem, there is no basal rosette. They are heart shaped and hairy, with sharply toothed edges and grow on long flattened stalks.
The leaves have an unpleasant smell when crushed, possibly a defence against being eaten.
The flowers take the form of a tubular corolla emerging from a calyx of five pointed sepals. They have a hood and a three lobed bottom lip.
Each flower contains four stamens and a single style.
The bottom lip of the purple flower is marked with white.
Woundwort also has it’s own bug.
The Woundwort Shieldbug (Eysarcoris venustissimus) is usually found on Hedge Woundwort but occasionally on other Dead-nettles such as White Dead-nettle.
If you have Woundwort growing near you then it is well worth keeping an eye open for these attractive little bugs.
Woundwort is pollinated by insects and it is a favourite of Bees. It also spreads from underground runners.
As the name suggests Woundwort has long been used in herbal medicine as a cure for almost anything. It is said to be particularly useful to stop bleeding and in the field a few leaves can be applied to a cut as a plaster, it is said to be effective.
Species: Stachys sylvatica
Wildflowers in winter.