Tag Archives: Herb Bennet

Yellow Snow Alert!

That is what it said on the BBC’s weather page this morning, “The MET office have issued a Yellow Snow Warning for Gloucestershire.”

Don’t eat Yellow Snow!

We had a little bit of English snow last night, it nearly hid the grass and by eight o’clock this morning it was drip, drip, dripping, everywhere. It was still enough to put the Sheep into a tizzy and you can guess what we were up to this morning.

Stuck SheepThis stupid animal just kept going deeper and deeper into the bramble as I tried to cut a way to her.

Stuck SheepI ended up pulling her gently out by a bramble as I just couldn’t get near to her.

Stuck SheepIt looks cruel but then I am cruel and I would not shy from starting a snowball fight with a little defenceless puppy either.

SnowballHeh heh! You need hands to make snowballs ūüôā

SnowballUnfortunately Fizz didn’t understand the first rule of fight club: You can’t throw snowballs back, you might hit the camera.

Most of the pictures that I took today turned out to be ruined due to me having a snowy and wet camera.

SnowballThen we found another Sheep in distress.

This one was so badly tangled it was walking on three legs.

4That was all that we needed, the Sheep have to be brought in. So they have been, they are all cleaned up and tucked away in the orchard.

They will stay there now until the end of next week because the farmer is going on holiday and I don’t want the Sheep out while he is away. Next week I am in charge.

Yes. I am in charge of you too.

FizzI put the trail camera out last night.

I had to alter my plans slightly, I don’t want to draw attention to the animals on public land and I didn’t know how much snow we were going to get.

No matter how well I conceal my bait, if it snows the animals will leave an obviously turned over area and tracks all around.

So I decided just to put the camera out on the farm and see if I could catch anything there.

This first video is of a Fox who is disturbed by a U.F.O.

Foxes and Aliens are predictable fodder for a Gloucestershire farm, on a winter’s night.

I didn’t expect this next one. One o’clock in the morning when they should be tucked up in their little woolly blankets, fast asleep. What on earth are these sheep doing?

As far as I can tell a group of them are creating a diversion whilst one of them removes the batteries from my camera and changes the SD card.

What do they want with batteries and what was on that SD card that they didn’t want me to see?

Well that is enough blarney for today.

Some friends of mine have been having dreams and sometimes these dreams have been coming true, not always in a good way.

Now this is the honest truth, last night I dreamt that I was writing about Geum urbanum, in my dream I carefully chose the pictures that I would use (One of them I remember was of a silver Ford Transit van) and I chose the words.

I woke up and I wrote this. It is not quite the same as in my dream (No vans)

Geum urbanum, The Wood Avens

Wood Avens flower (Geum urbanum)Geum urbanum, Wood Avens is also widely known as Herb Bennet. A member of the Rose family the genus Geum is commonly known as Avens, it is very closely related to the Potentilla (Barren Strawberries) and the Fragaria (Strawberries) a relationship reflected in the shape of the flower.

The species name urbanum just means urban (of the town or city). It is a species closely  associated with man as it grows well on disturbed ground but also the burrs that carry the seeds tend to stick to men and their livestock and so follow them around.

Wood Avens seed head (Geum urbanum)Locally Wood Avens is a plant of woodland edge and hedgerow.

I am going to look at how the small strawberry like flower develops into the hooked burr that is the seed head but first we should have a quick look at the calyx.

The calyx is made up of five sepals. Between each of the large sepals is a small bract called an episepal and they form an additional structure called the epicalyx. The sepals that form the calyx are there to enclose and protect the flower as it develops. The epicalyx just seems to add extra protection.

Wood Avens calyx (Geum urbanum)The flower bud.

Wood Avens flower bud (Geum urbanum)

Wood Avens flower bud (Geum urbanum)The flower has five yellow petals, they are widely spaced like those of the Barren Strawberry. A ring of yellow stamens enclose the green, multiple styles that will become the burr.

Wood Avens flower (Geum urbanum)

Wood Avens flower (Geum urbanum)As the flower matures the styles turn from green to brown.

Wood Avens flower (Geum urbanum)

Wood Avens flower (Geum urbanum)The petals drop off, Seeds are developing at the base of the styles and the styles are becoming kinked and hooked at the tips.

Wood Avens burr (Geum urbanum)All that remains of the flower is the burr which will attach itself to a passing animal and so disperse.

Wood Avens burr (Geum urbanum) Wood Avens burr (Geum urbanum)   Wood Avens burr (Geum urbanum)   Wood Avens burr (Geum urbanum) The whole of the plant is slightly hairy. The leaves are quite variable. At the base of the plant the leaves are quite rounded with toothed edges. They are trefoil, having a large leaf with two smaller leaves set at right angles at the base of the leaf stem.

As you move up the plant the trefoil aspect of the main leaf becomes more obvious.

Wood Avens leaves (Geum urbanum)

Wood Avens leaves (Geum urbanum)At the top of the plant the trefoil nature of the main leaf seems to be abandoned and we are left with a single, toothed, lance shaped leaf with the two smaller leaves still at the base of the stem.

Wood Avens leaves (Geum urbanum)

Wood Avens leaves (Geum urbanum) The name Herb Bennet comes from an older name Herba benedicta which simply means Blessed Herb. The root of the plant was once worn as an amulet to protect from evil. It was believed that if you kept the root in your house then Satan could not enter and that a man wearing such an amulet was immune to the poison of beasts.

The root.

Wood Avens roots (Geum urbanum)The roots were also widely used in medicine, dried and powdered they were used to prevent stomach ills and to cure poisoning and when boiled with wine a cordial was made to protect against plague.

Wood Avens flower (Geum urbanum) Wood Avens flower (Geum urbanum)   Wood Avens flower (Geum urbanum)   Wood Avens flower (Geum urbanum) Taxonomy:

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Rosales

Family: Rosaceae

Genus: Geum

Species: Geum urbanum

Wood Avens flower (Geum urbanum)Wildflowers in winter.

Nights spent dreaming of wildflowers are good nights.

Wood Avens or Herb Bennet?

I think that I will go for Herb Bennet just because when I Google Wood Avens there is a certain other wordpress blogger dominating the front page with much better photographs than I can get. Well done mike585.

Herb Bennet is in the news today because the burrs are out and I am having so much fun with them.

Herb Bennet

Herb BennetThe seed head is in the form of a burr with lots of little hooks they are supposed to stick to the fur of passing animals and so disperse.

Herb BennetI have to test these things out.

FizzBut let’s start at the beginning.

Herb BennetI don’t think that there is a great deal to be said about it so this will mostly be pictures.

Herb Bennet, Geum urbanum also known as Wood Avens. It is a member of the rose family (Rosaceae). It is a plant of shady hedgerows that flowers (I got my first photo this year on the 12th of March) from May to August.

In folk lore it is said to protect you from venomous snakes and rabid dogs and in Herbal Medicine it has long been used as a cure for snake venom and dog bites, so that is pretty straight forward.

On with the flowers.


Herb Bennet

Herb Bennet

Herb Bennet

Herb Bennet

Herb Bennet

Herb Bennet

Herb Bennet

Herb Bennet

Herb Bennet

Herb Bennet(12th March)

Herb Bennet

Herb Bennet



Ouch Ouch Ouch!

We have been exploring in the Stinging Nettles today.

We were looking for a companion for Treacle and we had a singular lack of success.

Stinging nettles are probably not my favourite wild flower. They are very nice and important to wild life but yes, you have guessed right, it’s the pain thing.

Urtica dioca

Urtica dioca

So let’s start with the Small Tortoiseshell. We found hundreds of them.

Small Tortoiseshell Larva Small Tortoiseshell Larva Small Tortoiseshell Larva Small Tortoiseshell Larva

But these are all overly small Small Tortoiseshells, early instars. They move around the nettles as they grow and keeping them supplied with fresh nettles and cleaning up the old ones (without throwing the baby out with the bathwater)would be a nightmare.

Small Tortoiseshell Larva Small Tortoiseshell Larva Small Tortoiseshell Larva Small Tortoiseshell Larva

I am just not ready for that kind of commitment. When these reach their fifth instar they will split up and go off alone to find somewhere to pupate and that is when we shall try to catch them.

Now as quick as I can, I just want to show you some of the wonderful things that we saw while we were getting stung.

This lovely Common Carder Bumblebee on Bush Vetch didn’t sting us.

Common Carder Common Carder Common Carder

This is a Green Veined White drinking from Creeping Buttercup.

Green Veined White Green Veined White Green Veined White Green Veined White Green Veined WhiteSome wildflowers:

Herb Robert.

Herb Robert

Herb Bennet or Wood Avens.Herb Bennet

Herb Fizz.Fizz

Cut-leaved Crane’s-bill.
Cut-leaved Crane's-bill

“Knots in May” The lovely blossom of the May Tree (Hawthorn)Hawthorn Blossom Hawthorn Blossom Hawthorn BlossomBack to insects and this is the invasive Harlequin Ladybird.

Harlequin Ladybird Harlequin Ladybird Harlequin LadybirdThis is one of our threatened native species, the very pretty little seven spot.

Seven SpotLast one for tonight. I took lots of pictures of this little beetle and it will probably get it’s own post soon. This is the Red-headed Cardinal.

Red-headed Cardinal Red-headed Cardinal Red-headed CardinalAnd that has got to be it for tonight because I am sleepy.

May is May

Today was beautiful and so Fizz and I went on a flower hunt.

I had promised to take her to see the Bluebells and there is an old Sweet Chestnut coppice not far from here that should do the trick. So that is where we are heading. On the way we are going to look for flowers.

We don’t just want any old flower, we want new ones that we don’t recognise. We want to learn something. So off we go.

This is the track up to the Badger sett. I left a camera out there last night and I want to pick it up on the way.

1The first wild flower that catches my eye is Herb Bennet. I know this one and I have photographed it before but these are nice fresh flowers and I can’t resist taking a few shots.

Herb Bennet

Herb BennetNext it is pick up the camera and it is disappointment again. This main sett has so many entrances and I am just trying to find one that is being used. There seems to be a lot more badger activity in the fields behind the farm but if there are going to be cubs they would be here.

This time we got nothing. A Tramp in the Woods, that’s all.

M2E48L156-156R391B309There is more disappointment to follow as we make our way along the track.

One of the things that I particularly wanted to do today was photograph the female of the species St. Mark’s Fly. It is called that because it usually appears around St. Mark’s day, April 25th and the adult flies only live for about a week so the window of opportunity is quite narrow. They have gone and I have missed that one, never mind, I’ll get it next year.

5The white flowers that line the track are Cow Parsley, flies seem to love it.

Okay this is more like it. This is a flower that I don’t recognise. Just what we were looking for.

Cut-leaved Crane's-billI think that I know it is a Crane’s-bill because the flower looks exactly like one that I do know well, Dove’s-foot Crane’s-bill but this one doesn’t have dove’s feet.

Cut-leaved Crane's-bill

Now I have to take lots of fairly boring pictures of the leaves, the stem, the form of the plant. I have to get as much information as I can and I will find out what it is when I get home.

Cut-leaved Crane's-billThat is cool and now I know that this is Cut-leaved Crane’s-bill, Geranium dissectum. I am happy now, I have learned something.

The next flower that we see falls into the same category as the first herb. We know what it is but it looks too good to pass it by.

Herb Robert.

Herb Robert Herb RobertWe are nearly at the woods now but first we have one more flower.

It is a Comfrey but I am not sure which one.

ComfreyNow I just have to spend a little bit of time looking at these flowers

Comfrey Comfrey Comfrey 15Beautiful. Gardeners love Comfrey and grow it as a green manure. I think this one is Russian Comfrey.

Now I am seeing weird geometric patterns everywhere.

Ribwort PlantainOkay that is just Ribwort Plantain.

Ribwort PlantainCome on Fizz, let’s go see the Bluebells.

BluebellsBluebellsThe wood is beautiful and peaceful. Birds are singing and it is still and warm. It would be very easy to fall asleep here.

BluebellsStupid dog, look at the pretty flowers.

BluebellsLeaving the wood (I will do a separate post on Bluebells) the next flower that we see is Wild Arum.

Wild Arum Wild ArumNot really a flower but you know that. (it’s a fly trap)

We headed back through the fields towards the farm.

26The Dandelions are all spent now, any yellow that you see in the field is Buttercups.

DandelionsHere we found our final flower of the day.

Red Clover.

Red Clover Red Clover Red CloverAnd that was the end of our flower hunt.

Tomorrow is another day.