For the past seven days I’ve chosen a wild flower that I’ve seen on my daily walk with Hugo, and found out a few facts about each flower.
Saturday ~ Bluebell. There’s nothing more stunning than a carpet of bluebells in the Spring. I saw clumps of these gorgeous violet blue flowers on a walk today through a patch of woodland by the river. Here are a few facts about bluebells.
Other names for Bluebell include Wild Hyacinth, Wood Bell, Granfer Giggle, Witches Thimble, Cuckoo’s Boot, Bell Bottle and Lady’s Nightcap.
It is against the law to pick, uproot or intentionally destroy bluebells.
Bluebells can also be pink or white.
The bluebell is the flower of St George.
In folklore fairies ring the bells to gather together their fairy kin. If humans hear blue bells ring however, disaster will befall them. 😬
Sunday ~ Cowslip. There are lots of cowslips in bloom at the local nature reserve in Salthill Quarry. They tend to thrive in meadows, dry grassy banks, grass verges and in open woodland. Here are a few cowslip facts.
Cowslip apparently means cow pat! It has been noted that the flowers spring up around where cows have ‘slupped’.
Tea made from the flowers can be used to help cure headaches and insomnia.
In countryside tradition cowslips were strewn along the church path at weddings and put in May Day garlands.
Other names for cowslip include Bunch of Keys, Lady’s fingers, Yellowdrops , Freckled Face & Fairies Flower.
Cowslips are the food of the Duke of Burgundy caterpillar.
Monday ~ Germander Speedwell. These little beauties were growing amongst a patch of primroses next to Mearley Brook. I love the bright blue colour of speedwells. 💙 Here are a few facts about the Germander Speedwell.
Other names that speedwells go by include Birds Eye and Cats Eye.
The flowers are a good luck charm for travellers. A speedwell worn in a button hole will ‘ speed you well ‘ on your journey.
The speedwells Latin name is Veronica Chamaedrys. It is said that a St Veronica wiped Christ’s forehead on the way to his crucifixion and an image of Jesus’s face was left imprinted on the cloth she used. Speedwell flowers resemble little faces.
In Germany speedwells are also known as ‘ mannertreu ‘ or ‘ men’s faithfulness ‘. Ironically the flowers wilt very quickly once picked.
In ancient medicine speedwells were used to cure many ailments especially coughs and congestion.
Tuesday ~ Yellow Archangel. As well as bluebells, the woodland floor near Standen Hall is covered in a hooded spring flower , the Yellow Archangel. Though I prefer to call it by one of its other names, the Yellow weasel snout. 🙂
Although it is a member of the Dead-Nettle family, the Yellow Archangel doesn’t sting.
If you want to know what a weasel smells like, crush the plants leaves. The rank aroma will give you some idea apparently.
The Yellow Archangel flowers near the 27th of April, a day dedicated to the Archangel Michael.
The flower has been used in the past to protect cattle against a black magic disease.
Red Dead-Nettles and White Dead-Nettles are closely related to their yellow flowered cousin.
Wednesday ~ Wild Garlic. An indicator of ancient woodland, this time of year is ideal for foraging the leaves of ramsons or wild garlic. They can also flower on roadside verges, where I saw the above. Here are some facts about Wild Garlic.
Wild garlic leaves and flowers can be used in many recipes including garlic scones and wild garlic pesto.
The plant is also known as Bear Garlic. It’s Latin name is Allium Ursinum ( bear leek). On the continent brown bears like to feast on the leaves.
Cats are apparently repelled by the smell of wild garlic.
In Ireland wild garlic bulbs were put into the thatched roofs of cottages for good luck.
If you forage wild garlic leaves , do not confuse with the similar looking Lily of the valley, which is highly toxic and should not be eaten. The best way to know your garlic is to check with your nose.
Thursday ~ Bugle. Down by the brook I spied several bugles. They can be found in damp grassland and woodland.
The Bugles Latin name is Ajuga reptans. Reptans means creeping & crawling, rather like how the plant spreads on underground runners.
The sixteenth century physician and naturalist William Turner described the plant as ‘ a black herb that groweth in moist ground and shadowy places’. It was used in ancient medicine to stop bleeding.
Bugles are popular with bees and butterflies.
The herb was made into a tea in Austria to help with respiratory conditions.
Friday ~ Red Campion. Today’s flower is pretty in pink , one of the first pink blooms of Spring. Red campions grow on woodland edges, in hedgerows and fields. These were by Mearley Brook. Here are some facts about Red Campion.
Red campion is also known by the names of Adder Flower, Red Catchfly and Robin Hood.
On the continent Red Campion are a scorpion scarer! Scorpions are not fond of red campions , throwing one at a scorpion renders it’s sting useless apparently. Don’t think I would want to try this out!
In fairy folklore Red campion is said to have been used by fairy folk to protect their honey stores.
Another name for the pink flower is Bachelor s Button, perhaps the flower was worn in single fellows button holes at country weddings, once upon a time.
Red campions roots were once used as a substitute for soap.
Of course every day more and more flowers appear! It’s so lovely to see them on my daily walks. What wild flowers have you noticed this week?