Tag Archives: Veronica persica

My New Speedo’s

Oh No !

MudfaceI am going to write a post about a Speedwell flower.

I discovered one today that I hadn’t seen before, there are quite a lot of them. Anyway, you are not even in my post tonight.

Oh Please.

Mucky pupDid you wash your face this morning?

Veronica filiformis. This is Slender speedwell.

Slender SpeedwellWorldwide there are about 500 species in the Veronica genus and in the UK we have about two dozen different Speedwell flowers. Half of those are quite rare and the rest… Well, it is just a case of finding them and photographing them. This is number seven for me.

lender SpeedwellWith so many little blue flowers around the problem is usually recognising that I am looking at a species that I haven’t seen before. It is very easy to see a little blue flower and just think, “Speedwell.”

In this case I saw a fairly dense matt of pale flowers and thought, “Wow, speedwells without any leaves.”

They do have leaves , they are just quite small.

lSender Speedwell

Slender Speedwell

Slender Speedwell

Slender SpeedwellSo here is my list to date.

Germander Speedwell(Germander Speedwell, Veronica chamaedrys)

Heath Speedwell(Heath Speedwell, Veronica officinalis)

Ivy-leaved Speedwell(Ivy-leaved Speedwell, Veronica hederifolia)

Persian Speedwell(Persian  or Common Field Speedwell, Veronica persica)

Thyme-leaved Speedwell(Thyme-leaved Speedwell, Veronica serpyllifolia)

Wood Speedwell(Wood Speedwell, Veronica montana)

And now of course…

Slender Speedwell(Slender Speedwell, Veronica filiformis)

So many Veronicas 🙂

I love finding new flowers and I love my Speedwell collection. I would like to add a few more this summer.

I am sorry that this daily post is late. We have been having power cuts all day. It goes on and it goes off and it has been going on for ages, very strange. I am probably the only person being bothered by it because it is now the middle of the night and everybody else is asleep but it is still annoying me.

Fortunately I have got my “light in a bag.”

LuminaidIt is called a Luminaid and it is a solar charged lantern. It throws out enough light to fill the room that I am in and I can read by it and for sleeping in the woods and stuff like that it is perfect. It charges itself in the day and runs all night.

I am not being sponsored to say this but I will see if I can find a video about it because I am loving my Luminaid tonight. (Fizz hasn’t got one but she is asleep)

THIS IS NOT AN ADVERT (I think it is a kind of charity thing)

I am not sure that I am allowed to put adverts on here but nobody is getting paid for anything here and if you want one then  you have to go and find one for yourself and all sorts of places sell them.

I did get approached by a company recently who asked if I would like to write about their product on  my blog but I didn’t really know what it was and so that is on hold for the moment. This little light really works and deserves a free mention tonight because it is dark here. (on and off)

I might like to do some kit reviews one day. It would be things like Buffalo Pile clothing (I bought my first Buffalo sleeping bag thirty years ago), Frosts, knife makers of Sweden (they are called Mora now but I still have my “Frosty”) My little Vango wood burning stove (that has been on here once). There  is kit that I have used for ages and I know that it is good but it wouldn’t be “paid for” advertising.

On that controversial note I will say Goodnight (Good morning)

Just Flower Power

It has rained a lot in the last couple of days and then today the sun came out again.

Lesser Celandine

Lesser CelandineThat is a Ranunculus, a “Little Frog” called Lesser Celandine.

I found a few interesting things today and so I am going to start with female plants of the Dog’s Mercury.

Dog's MercuryThe sexes seem to like to hang out together. It is either a group of all male flowers or all female and until today I could only find males.

I need photographs of the flowers. When I wrote about Dog’s Mercury earlier in the year, this was the best picture that I could find of the female flower.

Dog's Mercury female flowerThat is not really the flower, that is just a pair of swollen ovaries with a stigma on the top. That is what the flower will become.

It is not easy to photograph the flowers, they are small and they tend to lie under the leaves but this is what I got today.


Dog's Mercury female flower

Dog's Mercury female flowerYou are not missing anything, there just isn’t very much to the female flower. Three green tepals open and inside there is just a two lobed stigma, (until the ovary develops). I will work on getting some better pictures 🙂

The male flowers are a little bit easier, at least they don’t hide themselves away.

Dog's Mercury male flower

Dog's Mercury male flowerHere is one that you can see. Common Field-speedwell.

Common Field-speedwell

Common Field-speedwell

Common Field-speedwellI liked this picture of the seedling.

Common Field-speedwellI like it because the floor is covered in little unidentifiable green things and then ever so slowly you begin to recognise them and their mysteries are revealed.

Mystery Dog

This next one is Hairy Bittercress.Hairy BittercressIt is only when I got home and looked at these pictures that I realised the seed pod at the back of this next picture looks fit to burst, it is something else that I must photograph.

Hairy BittercressThere are a lot of flowers about now. We will see some more on the way back but we have come out here to look for Butterflies.

It was a bit disappointing today, I saw several but I just couldn’t get close to them. I put it down to coming out at lunch time on the hottest day of the year, so far. They had too much energy.

I saw two Red Admirals and then a Small Tortoiseshell. I chased them up and down the track for ages, our walk took four hours today.

Fizz looked after my hat while I chased the Butterflies.

Hat Stand FizzThis kinda selfie was as close as I could get today. (There is a Butterfly in this picture just below shoulder height on my right)

Butterfly SelfieThere it is 🙂

Small TortoiseshellPesky animals.

Come on Fluffy, back to the flowers.

My shadow and Fluffy


I am putting these in just because I love them.Arum maculatumThey are the mottled leaves of Arum maculatum.

Arum maculatum

Arum maculatumWe can’t have a post in March without Primroses, I am just doing thrums today.


PrimroseThis next one has been nibbled by mice I think.



PrimroseThen to round off the walk I found something that I absolutely love.

Wild GarlicIt is Wild Garlic. I won’t dwell on this today because I don’t think my photographs were very good. I need to get decent pictures at this early stage and then I need to eat them. We will be back here soon.

Wild Garlic

Wild GarlicThat was it for today. I wasn’t over pleased with the pictures that I got but there is some exciting stuff going on and I am looking forward to having another go at it.

This is a dog tired Dog.

Dog tired Dog

I wrote about Snowdrops for EW. It was a frustrating task because I wrote this post last year but I knew that it wasn’t good enough and that I would have to rewrite it.

It took me about twelve hours to do 900 words but it is done now.

The Snowdrops around here are fading fast but hopefully this will be all right for next year 🙂

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)Galanthus nivalis, The Common Snowdrop

The Common Snowdrop isn’t native to the UK it is naturalised, that means that it is an introduced species that probably arrived here around about the sixteenth century and has been here ever since. Most people think of it as a native species today.

Galanthus nivalis is native to most of Europe and that is where we got it from.

There are twenty species of Galanthus Snowdrops native to Europe, the last one only being identified in 2012. They all look very similar but the most common species is G. nivalis, the Common Snowdrop.

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)

Identifying the Common Snowdrop:

Galanthus nivalis has narrow leaves (6mm or less) all of the other known species have leaves at least  9mm wide.

So there is a simple rule of thumb.

If the leaf blade is thinner than your little finger nail then it is Galanthus nivalis, if it is wider then it is one of the others.

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)It is very easy to identify the plant as G. nivalis but the fun doesn’t stop there.

There are dozens of garden varieties that have been cultivated from G. nivalis and so they all have the same narrow leaves. They have names like Galanthus nivalis “Green Tear.” These varieties have been selected because they have some striking difference to the Common Snowdrop and usually that concerns colour or shape.

The flower of the Common Snowdrop is composed of six “tepals.”

(Tepal is a word that we use when the petals and the sepals appear the same or are performing the same function)

The three outer tepals are plain white. The three inner tepals are half the length of the outer ones and they have a green mark at the tip that looks like a little bridge.

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)To complicate matters further there is a double Common Snowdrop that grows in the wild and can often be found growing amongst the single flowers. It is called Galanthus nivalis f. pleniflorus “Flore Pleno.”

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis Flore Pleno)From this species, many more double and semi-double garden varieties have been cultivated and they are all Galanthus nivalis.

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis Flore pleno)

So to summarise my “Easy” identification guide: If the leaf blade is thinner than your little finger nail, then it is Galanthus nivalis  and if it has that little green bridge mark and nothing else, then it is almost certainly just a Common Snowdrop.

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)If you would like to view some of the many variations on this theme then I would recommend a visit to Judy’s Snowdrops. My link will take you to a page showing G. nivalis cultivars but the whole web site is worth exploring if you have the time.

There is one other identification feature that I should mention, The leaves of the Common Snowdrop face each other like a pair of hands clapped together, in a few species the leaves wrap around each other at the very base. I think that for our purposes this is a bit academic, it is enough to do the finger nail test.

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)NB: If you find one with leaves broader than your little finger nail then it is not Galanthus nivalis and you should take it’s photograph.

The Common Snowdrop description:

The Common Snowdrop has a single flower on a stem (sometimes called a “scape”).  As the flower breaks through the ground it is protected by two bracts with hardened tips and the flower lies between them enclosed in a papery spathe.

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)As the flower grows it breaks free of it’s paper casing, The bracts will hang above the flower now, usually with the upper side of the spathe intact.

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)The flower is composed of six tepals, (petals) three outer and three inner. The outside tepals are white. The inner tepals  are half as long as the outer and bear a green mark that looks like a little bridge.

The inside of a Common Snowdrop looks like this.

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)There are six anthers, covered in orange pollen which surround a single style.

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)You can see the style better in  this next photograph.

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)The ovary (where the seeds are produced) is the green bulb at the base of the flower.

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)This is the fruit of the Snowdrop, it will contain two or three seeds. The flowers die and drop off in early March and the leaves die back soon after but the seeds won’t be ripe until June. Until that time the fruit will lie on the ground, it will yellow when  it is ripe and then it will open.

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)Early Snowdrops :

The French call this little flower perce-neige which literally translates as pierce-snow. The tips of the leaves are hardened to allow them to break through the cold frosty ground.

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)Unlike the Primrose, Early Crocus and Coltsfoot, I can’t really see this flower as one of the “first signs of spring,” it doesn’t wait for spring, it flowers in the winter.

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)Kew Gardens have been monitoring the arrival of the first Snowdrops since the 1950’s and at that time Snowdrops opened late in February, by the 1990’s they were opening in January. In 2014 Kew announced their first Snowdrops on December 5th. Winters really are warming up.

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)The Snowdrop flowers very early in the year, when there are few pollinating insects around, as a result the plant usually spreads by vegetative means (from the small bulblets that form at the base of the main bulb) rather than from seed production.  However they will last into March and do provide a very valuable source of nectar and pollen for early Bumblebees, Honeybees and other insects.

Snowdrops react to the sun. On a warm sunny day they open their outer tepals wide and release a scent that is like warm honey. They are doing their best to  attract any insects that are around.

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)Taxonomy:

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Asparagales

Family: Amaryllidaceae

Genus: Galanthus

Species: Galanthus nivalis

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)   Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)   Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)Winter wildflowers in the Spring 🙂


Happy Face

It is like a Spring day out there today. It is like it is March and the sun is shining 🙂

Spring dayIn March the Butterflies come back and so today we are going out to look for them.

Fizz has got her happy face on.

Happy faceI haven’t seen that face for a long time. She is not really happy (well, she is always happy) she is hot and she is panting and it hasn’t been hot for a very long time.

Happy face 2It didn’t take us long to find a Butterfly. This is a Red Admiral.

Red AdmiralThe Red Admiral is a migrant species that arrives here in the UK in May and June flying in from Europe and North Africa.

It is only fairly recently that it has been considered a resident species, they don’t like our cold winters.

Butterfly Conservation says on it’s website, “There is an indication that numbers have increased in recent years and that overwintering has occurred in the far south of England.” That needs updating.

This animal has survived the winter in Gloucestershire and hopefully I will soon see a lot more. Hurrah for global warming 🙂

Red AdmiralIt does look a bit tatty but so would you if you had been outside all winter.

We better find it some nectar plants. You can try some of these.

Lesser Celandine.
Lesser Celandine

Lesser Celandine

Common Field-speedwellCommon Field-speedwell

Common Field-speedwellThere is another one, a Small Tortoiseshell.

Small TortoiseshellOh Joy. The flowers are flowering, the Butterflies are coming back and Fizz has got her happy face on.


ColtsfootColtsfootNow Fizz and I are tired of all this sunshine and Butterflies and flowers.

Tired FizzWe are going up on the bank to get our photographs taken with the sheep.

Interested FizzOn the way we find another little flower that we haven’t seen yet this year.

This is Hairy Biittercress.

Hairy Bittercress

Hairy Bittercress

Hairy Bittercress

Hairy BittercressIt’s good for Butterflies.

Okay, let’s make some selfies.

Selfie 1

Selfie 2

Everybody crowd in.Selfie 3Our shadows are getting very short, mine used to be about ten sheep long.

I have written about Stellaria media today but I have had to leave quite a lot of important stuff out because I just didn’t have the photographs. I haven’t seen it in flower yet but it won’t be long and then I shall get the pictures and update the post.

Common Chickweed (Stellaria media)Stellaria media, The Common Chickweed

Common Chickweed is a member of the Stellaria genus of flowers. It is a very small flower, about a quarter of an inch in diameter (6-9 mm) and in common with other Stellaria species it has five white petals.

The  five petals of Stellaria media are divided right down to the base, giving the flower the  appearance of ten petals and note that the petals of Common Chickweed are shorter or no longer than the sepals and that the sepals are hairy.

(Common Chickweed, Stellaria media 6-9 mm)
Common Chickweed (Stellaria media)Compare Common Chickweed to two other Stellaria species that are commonly found here.

(Lesser Stitchwort, Stellaria graminea 7-12 mm)
Lesser Stitchwort (Stellaria geminea)

(Greater Stitchwort, Stellaria holostea 15-25 mm)
Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea)Common Chickweed has three styles that sit on a green ovary. The number of stamens can vary from three to eight.

(Stellaria media, 3 stamens)
Common Chickweed (Stellaria media)

(Stellaria media, 8 stamens)
Common Chickweed (Stellaria media)Common Chickweed has a weak stem, it will often trail along the ground but it seldom rises more that about eight inches. It is a small plant but if you find it growing in any quantity it is worth remembering that it is a tasty edible. The leaves can be eaten raw in salads.

Common Chickweed (Stellaria media)The leaves are oval and smooth edged with a point at the tip, they grow in opposite pairs along the stem. Leaves at the base of the plant have quite long stalks and toward the top they are stalkless.

Common Chickweed (Stellaria media)Common Chickweed has a tradition of use in herbal medicine and is most commonly used to treat skin conditions, cuts, bruises and burns

It is a valuable wildlife plant, a food plant to several moth species it is probably best known as being favoured by birds. Chickens eat both the plant and the seeds and that is how it gets it’s name, many small birds like finches eat the seeds and you can also feed it to cage birds.

Common Chickweed (Stellaria media) Common Chickweed (Stellaria media)   Common Chickweed (Stellaria media)   Common Chickweed (Stellaria media) Taxonomy

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Caryophyllales

Family: Caryophyllaceae

Genus: Stellaria

Species: Stellaria media

Common Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Common Chickweed (Stellaria media)Wildflowers in the Springtime 🙂

Wild Animals and Wild Flowers

…and oh, so many Veronicas.

Animals first.

Fizz and I went out to look for signs of spring, it’s a bit early but what else are we going to do? It was nice yesterday and about time too, I had almost given up on 2015.

Elm TreesThese are Elm Trees. We missed them flowering last year, they flower in early spring and then go on to develop these winged seeds called samaras.

SamarasThis was the state of these trees when we discovered them in April so there is probably a month or two to go before we see any flowers but you can’t be too careful.

SamarasIn the corner beneath these trees there is a Badger Sett. This is where our three Badgers spent most of the summer and I am hoping that they are here now. Badgers spend most of December and January under ground. This doesn’t look very active today.

Badger SettI am hoping that our Badgers will raise cubs this year and this sett would be a pretty private and easy location to film them.

Why cubs? Patch turned up in these fields in March, that is the peak breeding season for Badgers. He was badly wounded and I am pretty sure that he had been fighting with another Badger over a female.

This video from late June shows the bite marks to his rump healing now but that is a sign of Badger on Badger aggression. He had been kicked out of the main sett for being too interested in the opposite sex..

This video is from the beginning of June and this was the first time that I realised that there were three of them. I don’t know the sexes Patch is almost certainly male because he has had his head kicked in. Generally males are more likely to get kicked out than females for obvious reasons but one of these animals could be female.

and Patch is ready to have a go at making Badger Cubs for me.

That would be nice.

So leaving our Badgers we headed out to the woods.

Chestnut woodWe are looking for shoots, Bluebells, this is where we found the Early Crocus and also this one.

Lent LilyNarcissus pseudonarcissus, I haven’t shown you this one before. This is a Lent Lily or Wild Daffodil. It is our only native daffodil and beautiful and special.

Lent LilyNo sign of them today though, so we were just messing about..

Fizz wanted a go on the tree that I was sitting on.

FizzIt is like wanting to get on the furniture if she sees a tree she has to get on it.

FizzSuddenly there was loud grunting from just behind Fizz. We were annoying a Boar. I slipped a lead on her and stood silent waiting for the animal to move but it didn’t.

I waited quite a while but it obviously didn’t have any intention of stirring, it was just telling us to clear off.

I wondered if it could be a female with a litter who couldn’t move. It is really too early in the year for that but,,,, Global warming and all that. Anyway I wasn’t going to stress her. She could stay put and Fizz and I would retreat.

The next day….

The next day was horrible and wet.

Horrible and wetWe headed back to the woods with a trail camera and bait.

Trail cameraI have had several reports of people seeing Boar in these woods but haven’t seen any evidence myself, that noise yesterday was definitely a pig or more exactly a Boar so it is worth a try.

I have filmed a few times in these woods without success so I am not holding my breath. Still, nothing adventured, nothing gained.

Flowers now, I have been holding back from doing this one. It is not difficult in itself but…..

Supposing that you had a sweetheart called Veronica and that she was very lovely. Okay now supposing Veronica had a whole bunch of sisters and they were all called Veronica and looked just as lovely. We have to be very careful how we approach this problem.

Which one are you going to kiss?

Germander SpeedwellNo! That’s a sister.

Thyme -leaved SpeedwellNo Stop! That’s another sister.

Wood SpeedwellEEEK! Sister!

I am going to have to be very clear when I describe these flowers.

Veronica persica, The Common Field-speedwell

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)Veronica persica, also called the Bird’s-eye Speedwell or Persian Speedwell is one of our earliest spring flowers.

This flower is also sometimes known as Winter Speedwell and given as flowering all year round but locally it was absent until the beginning of March. I took my first picture of 2014 on March 6th.

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)The Flower has two stamens and one style, it is self fertile. It has four petals, the topmost one being the most intensely coloured and the bottom one being smaller and paler.

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)Of course the flower doesn’t always align itself the right way up.

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)This flower shape is typical of Speedwells. Worldwide there are about 500 different species but in the UK there are only about two dozen and half of them are quite rare.

Veronica persica has a single flower (8-12 mm) to a stem. Many of the other species have more. The length of the stem is significant, It will be longer than the leaves but not more than twice as long, there is another species that carries single flowers on much longer stems (four times as long)

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)The leaves are pale green, oval to triangular and not more than about 2 cm long, coarsely toothed, they have a short stalk and they are arranged alternately at the top of the plant and in pairs at the base.

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica) Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)   Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)   Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica) The plant often sprawls along the ground before rising to flower.

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)Common Field-speedwell is not native to the UK, it was first recorded here around 1825 and it came from South East Asia. It is commonly regarded as a weed in the UK with no horticultural value.

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica) Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)   Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)   Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica) Taxonomy:

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Lamiales

Family: Plantaginaceae

Genus: Veronica

Species: Veronica persica

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)

Wildflowers in winter.

Being Columbus

A few days ago I set sail for a new world. My plan was to explore it, meet the indigenous peoples and see if I could trade with them.

It is extremely strange. I don’t think that I have met any of the locals yet. I can’t figure out how they communicate with each other because they all seem to be invisible. I am enjoying being there despite the lack of progress and today I thought that I would show them some baubles in the hope of initiating some kind of trade. (They can see this post) I will accept anything of value in exchange for my trinkets.

To keep my friends back home entertained (They can also see this post) these are all new baubles and today my baubles will all be flowers.

This one is called the Scarlet Pimpernel.

Scarlet Pimpernel

Scarlet Pimpernel

Scarlet Pimpernel

Scarlet PimpernelThere is also a Yellow Pimpernel, related by family but a different genus.

Yellow PimpernelThat is enough Pimpernels.

This next one is a Speedwell. This is Thyme-leaved Speedwell.

Thyme-leaved Speedwell

Thyme-leaved Speedwell

Thyme-leaved Speedwell

Thyme-leaved SpeedwellThere are quite a few different Speedwells and while the structure of the plant may vary a lot, the flower tells you that this is another type of Speedwell.

Wood Speedwell.

Wood SpeedwellGermander Speedwell.

Germander SpeedwellThe very  tiny Ivy-leaved Speedwell comes in two colours.

Veronica hederifolia subspecies hederifolia

Ivy-leaved Speedwelland

Veronica hederifolia subspecies lucorum

Ivy-leaved SpeedwellOther than colour they are pretty much identical.

Last of the Speedwells for now this one is Common Field-speedwell.

Common Field SpeedwellHere is one that everyone knows, I have seen this on a lot of blogs this summer.

This is Queen Anne’s Lace (Wild Carrot)

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's LaceSo this is what has happened:

From time to time somebody visits me from the other side. I am trying to reach out and contact them. I have put a foot on their land, let us see if they want to trade.

A Tramp on Blogger

Blogger is a complete mystery to me but it only takes me a few minutes to copy and paste something that I have written for this blog into the other world.

If anybody here understands their culture then I could use a few tips.

I can’t see how they like a post. There is a little +1 sign that has appeared at the bottom of one of my posts, that may be their way of saying that somebody liked it but if so then how do you find out who liked it?

I can’t find a way to search for blogs that I may like, for instance to search for blogs about nature.

It is a very alien world but I am trying to emphasize that I come in peace and for trade. Later if they don’t die of our diseases and we can’t convert them then we will probably have to shoot them and steal their land. I think that is what colonists do but I will do some more research first. (Let’s keep that amongst ourselves for now)

I will just show them one more trinket. There are so many to choose from….

How about Ragged Robin?

Ragged Robin

Ragged Robin

Ragged Robin

Ragged Robin

I will let you know if I am able to make contact with anyone from the other side. It is all very exciting, I wonder what they will look like, just like you and me I guess 🙂