Saturday, 3 May 2014

Great!

Yesterday's walk, took us around Shipley Park towards Mapperley woods, the reservoir and the farmland beyond.  We were joined on our walk, by our friend Jayne and she turned out to be a lucky charm.  It is not often that I am able to tick off a 'new species' on my life list - particularly in Britain, but as we were walking through the woodland around Mapperley Reservoir, I noticed this large, yellow-flowered plant..
The four-petalled, cruciform petals, immediately made me think it was a member of the cabbage family.  The leaves, being glossy green and slightly 'rubbery' to touch, also pointed toward the cabbages.  Later, when we got home and I was able to consult the books however, it turned out to be a Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus).
We are used to the much smaller, Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) at this time of year as it hugs the ground and spreads its yellow flowers, but the Lesser, is a member of the family Ranunculaceae or Buttercups.  The Greater Celandine turns out to be a different family altogether, the Papaveraceae or Poppy family.
The whole plant is poisonous and it contains a particularly nasty toxin called Sanguinarine which can be lethal in large enough dose.  So, a new 'tick' for the life list.  Thanks Jayne!
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