Tag Archives: Ribwort Plantain

Educated Fleas

I thought that I would take Fizz up in the fields and take her picture in amongst the Dandelions…


FizzBut I became distracted.

This is St Mark’s Fly (Bibio marci)

St Mark's FlyWe call it that because they all emerge around about the same time, April the twenty fifth and that is St Mark’s Day. They are a little bit late this year.

These first picture are of the male. He has large eyes and clear wings, also very long back legs that hang below him in flight. Last year I searched in vain for a female of the species. They look quite different.

The problem is that the adults only live for about a week and as they all emerge at the same time there is very little opportunity to see them.

St Mark's FlyAnd there she was, distracting me… I forgot all about Fizz.

St Mark's FlyShe has small eyes , she is a little bit longer than the male and has dark wings.

St Mark's FlyBut even though she looks so different I am quite confident that this is the female of the species.

St Mark's Fly

St Mark's FlyI have heard it said that the male has such big eyes so that he can find the female and that is quite believable. I had a lot of trouble finding her.

The Dandelions are beginning to fade now.

FizzThe Buttercups are just starting to appear.

As soon as the Dandelions go these fields will fill with Buttercups.Buttercup

ButtercupIt looks like these fields are going to be grown for silage again this year, the grass is already too long for Sheep. That is good because for a few months we will get long grass and lots of wildflowers and all of the associated insects.

I will leave you with the firework display called Ribwort Plantain.

Ribwort Plantain

Ribwort Plantain

Ribwort Plantain

Ribwort Plantain

Ribwort Plantain


Sunday, the Second Half.

Brrr…… Woke up to freezing rain and a cold wind. It was so different from Saturday. The rain carried on for most of the morning and at times it was falling as snow but it was too wet to lay.

This was not a day for straying out of doors but Fizz didn’t agree.

With zero chance of getting any nature shots I eventually gave in to the whining and decided to try my hand at a bit of “glamour” photography.

Well, you know that Fizz has got her own Facebook page now, I thought we could go out and get some cute and sweet photographs that she could use….

FizzThings didn’t go exactly to plan… (The weather was against me)

FizzThere were the odd patches of blue sky but the wind didn’t let up..


FizzThen we hit a bit of rough.

FizzHer ball got stuck in the mud.

FizzI suppose that at this point I could have used my opposable thumbs to help her out a bit but the journalist inside of me kicked in and I thought that I should record this moment.

FizzAnyway she seemed to be doing quite well at retrieving the ball from the mud with her face.

FizzShe didn’t really need any help.

FizzAnd that was the end of my career in “Glamour photography.”

FizzIt was good while it lasted.

Plantago lanceolata, The Ribwort Plantain.

Ribwort Plantain flower head (Plantago lanceolata)A common plant of meadows and grass land, Ribwort Plantain is also a common lawn weed.

Short creamy, brown flower heads are carried on long ribbed stems and they can grow quite tall when competing with grasses. The flower stems are leafless, the leaves all stem from the base of the plant.

Ribwort Plantain plant (Plantago lanceolata)When the flower head first appears the closed bracts present a very dark, almost black face to the world.

Ribwort Plantain flower head (Plantago lanceolata) Ribwort Plantain flower head (Plantago lanceolata)   Ribwort Plantain flower head (Plantago lanceolata)   Ribwort Plantain flower head (Plantago lanceolata)

Ribwort Plantain flower head (Plantago lanceolata)The familiar ring of creamy, white stamens appears as the flowers start to open. They open from the bottom of the flower head first and the ring moves slowly upwards.

Ribwort Plantain flower head (Plantago lanceolata)

Ribwort Plantain flower head (Plantago lanceolata)

Ribwort Plantain flower head (Plantago lanceolata)The small flowers are composed of four cream coloured petals with a brown central rib (technically the four petals should be called a corolla because they are not actually individual petals but fused together) The overall effect is of a light brown flower head surrounded by a ring of white stamens.

Ribwort Plantain flower (Plantago lanceolata)

Ribwort Plantain flower (Plantago lanceolata)The stem is deeply ridged as are the lance-shaped leaves and depending on who you read, one of these ribbed features gives the plant the name Ribwort.

Ribwort Plantain flower stalk (Plantago lanceolata)

Ribwort Plantain leaf (Plantago lanceolata)

Ribwort Plantain plant (Plantago lanceolata)Taxonomy:

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Lamiales

Family: Plantaginaceae

Genus: Plantago

Species: Plantago lanceolata

Ribwort Plantain plant (Plantago lanceolata)

Ribwort Plantain flower head (Plantago lanceolata)

Wildflowers in winter.


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


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.