Thursday, 16 August 2012


Malcolm and I took ourselves off for a stroll around Shipley Lake this morning, not for the pleasure of the walk - although that is always part of it - but in order to forage for Blackberries.  We picked a good bag full on Monday and have been enjoying them for breakfast, so more were needed.  Along the path where the Blackberries can be found in great abundance, there is also a substantial stand of Common Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum).
This is a notorious fern in Britain, where it provokes much ire in some people.  Tall and extremely robust, it is often highly invasive.  It also contains many poisonous chemicals, not least of which is the carcinogenic ptaquiloside.  The spores are also thought to be carcinogenic, so, not a nice plant have around.  The scientific name 'aquilinum' is derived from the Latin 'aquila' meaning eagle and is commonly thought to refer to either the eagles wing-shape of the leaf fronds, or the pattern of fibres in it's stem, which when viewed in cross section, is said to resemble a double headed eagle..

On another note, it's my mother's birthday today.
Not changed a bit...!
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