Monday, 17 August 2015

A Few More Flowers

The height of summer always seems to bring a reduction in the wild, floral display of the countryside. Having said that, there are still a good number of plants in flower, some native and some foreign invaders. Among the most common of the native species at the moment, is the Common Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris).
Also known as Common Wormwood, and has been used in herbal medicine for thousands of years. Culpepper described it as being a herb of Venus and as such, was useful in the treatment of 'women's problems'. It is also said to 'break the stone' and clear the urinary tract. Very useful!
The other flower to mention today, is a non-native and invasive species, the Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera).
Growing to 6ft tall or more, this is an imposing and beautiful plant with striking flowers of wonderful colour and somewhat odd shape. Mostly a pale pink colour, the picture above shows that they come in many shades, some darker than others. These are growing near to Head House Farm.
Related to the familiar Busy Lizzie they have an explosive way of distributing their seeds. The pods within which the seeds are to be found, curl and twist as they ripen. This creates stresses within the pod which give way suddenly when touched, making the pod burst with a loud pop, sending seeds flying in all directions. It is from this that the plant is sometimes known as Touch-me-not. A beautiful flower, even if it an unwelcome invader in some parts.
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