Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Meadow

When the sun shines on it, the scent of Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) hits you like a sweet shop opening it's doors on a hot day.  Wonderfully sweet-smelling, this member of the rose family, the whole plant has a pleasant flavour (apparently).
The flowers have been used to flavour wines and beers for centuries and the plant has long been known as a 'strewing herb' from the days when the flowers were strewn around the floors of medieval buildings to sweeten the smell of the rooms.  The plant contains chemicals used for the production of Aspirin and a black dye can be made from its root.  But mainly, it is a wonderfully 'frothy' flower with that fantastic, sweet smell.
Less exciting visually, and certainly without the sweet smell, False Fox Sedge (Carex otrubae) is far less noticeable than the Meadowsweet, but a closer look reveals a fascinating little sedge.
The stems are robust and sharply triangular in cross section.  The flower head is hard and rather spiky to the touch with long, leaf-like 'ligules' protruding from beneath each inflorescence.  More often found growing near the coast, this is nevertheless a common plant in most wet meadows and boggy areas across the UK.  Here in the meadow of Pewit Carr, it is certainly rather common amongst the other rushes, sedges and grasses.
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