Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Smooth

Not much of a walk this morning - the eye test was long over due - so a couple of pictures from yesterday's stroll around Straw's Bridge.
Among the many wild flowers which grow in the damp ground around the lakes, there is a hollow-stemmed member of the thistle family which draws the attention.  The Smooth Sow-thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) is a common and well-known part of the British countryside and sometime familiarity can breed contempt, but it shouldn't as this attractive plant proves.
As with most thistles, the leaves are edged with some rather fearsome-looking prickles, but in this case they are relatively soft and don't cause too much distress when touched.  The hollow stems exude a thick, sticky latex if broken but the leaves are edible and supposed to be rather tasty.  They also contain many nutrients and minerals including calcium, phosphorus and vitamins A, B1, B2 and B12, making them a healthy option for the dinner table.
They're certainly popular with the aphids, who obviously know a healthy meal when they see one.
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