Friday, 12 July 2013

Flora

Continuing on the theme of flowers, blooming in the warmth we're experiencing at the moment, I have three more from our walk yesterday, starting with another pink one, albeit rather smaller than the Rosebay Willowherb.  This attractive little flower is the Common Centaury (Centaurium erythraea).
Standing about a foot high and topped with these delightful little flowers, they were scattered among the grasses along parts of the old West Hallam Colliery walk.  Belonging to the Gentian family, they are well known medicinal plants and have been used to make an infusion to cure mainly gastric problems as well as liver diseases.  They are also a powerful antioxidant.
Growing nearby, were some much smaller flowers and ones which were easily overlooked.  With blooms no more than  3mm across, these tiny flowers belong to a plant called Fairy Flax (Linum catharticum).  Seemingly too delicate to survive among the grasses, the Fairy Flax they were also used in medicine, but for very different reasons.  Their pseudonym 'Purging Flax' gives you an idea what they were used for!
Lastly, a tall and very bright flower and another which is well known in the medicinal world.  Evening Primrose oil is widely used in medicines and cosmetics, indeed they were once known as 'King's Cure-all'.  Native to North America, they have colonised many temperate parts of the world, including our little patch of countryside.
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