An Opening


White Water-lily (Nymphaea alba) – Nymphaea is Latin, which comes from a Greek term possibly referring to nymph or nymph-like, of a mythological supernatural spirit of nature, often described as a beautiful maiden associated with water, which would be very befitting for this delicate aquatic plant.


White Water-lily Nymphaea alba

Rasberry


Rubus idaeus – This image just goes to show how you can pass by so much without really noticing things. I discovered Rasberry today, growing wild off a narrow dirt pathway leading but a short few steps to the river. It was almost hidden by brambles and nettles, and shaded under willow, but here we have it. First time seeing it after 27 years of walking around here! Must have had my eyes closed half the time.


Rasberry Rubus idaeus

100 Wild Flowers


Yellow Corydalis (Pseudofumaria lutea) – This low-growing plant with its golden yellow flowers is the 100th species to be added to A nature Journey. A non-native species originally from the Alps, I discovered it growing from a local canal bridge. It likes to grow between the degraded mortar in old walls, or between the cracks and paving. Naturally, it grows between limestone rocks.

You are more than welcome to visit my Wild Flowers page, where you may find all 100 featured species with photographs and text.


Yellow Corydalis Pseudofumaria lutea

Yellow Corydalis Pseudofumaria lutea

Yellow Corydalis Pseudofumaria lutea

Bringing Light To A Weed


Smooth Sow-thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) – This member of the Asteraceae family has quite an unenviable reputation as a nasty and troublesome weed of gardens and arable land, and yet, seen in a different light, it is much more than just that. It has a beauty all of its own as a native wild flower and a source of nectar to pollinating insect. It also has medicinal properties as well as culinary.


Smooth Sow-thistle Sonchus oleraceus

Smooth Sow-thistle Sonchus oleraceus

Please double-click images for a closer look.


V Is For Velcro

Lesser Burdock (Arctium minus) – In the 1940s the Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral had a brain wave when he kept noticing the sticky burrs of burdock (we also have Greater Burdock (Arctium lappa), which is similar) kept attaching to his clothes when he passed by it. Also called ‘Sticky Buttons’, he thought he might be able to replicate the idea to produce a clothes fastening. After trial and error, and with inspiration from the plant, it took him around 8 years to perfect his product which he finally called Velcro.

Not to forget that dandelion and burdock has been a poupular soft drink since the Middle Ages, one I used to drink a lot of as a child when pop came in glass bottles and you could take them back to the shop and get a few pennies for the return to spend on a bag of sweets.


Lesser Burdock Arctium minus

Lesser Burdock Arctium minus

Lesser Burdock Arctium minus

Please double-click images for a closer look.


White Water-lily


Nymphaea alba – After my last post I thought something a little lighter was required, so here are 2 photos of this lovely lily, which I saw the same day as the snake on the local canal. The lily will only open in bright sunshine, which obviously brings its own challenges when photographig satin white petals.


White Water-lily Nymphaea alba

White Water-lily Nymphaea alba

Please double-click images for a closer look.


In Search of Giants


Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) – In the first image I am standing below the plant looking up at the underneath of this massive bloom. I am 6′ 2″ tall, and these can grow up to 5m (over 16ft) tall. I was also on higher ground, the plant virtually in the river. A word of warning … do not touch these giants because they will seriously get you with burns, blisters and rashes. The sap contains furocoumarin, which if it gets on the skin makes it extremely sensitive to sunlight (phytophotodermatitis). A person can suffer phytotoxicity for months or even years, so admire this giant from a distance.


Giant Hogweed Heracleum mantegazzianum

Giant Hogweed Heracleum mantegazzianum

Poppy Love


Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) – Kind of like the old Donny Osmond hit back in the early 70’s (for those of us who can remember – or even want to remember) but poppies and not puppies. I love these – poppies – and as soon as I see that bright scarlet red out amidst the sea of green grasses in the fields and meadows I aways make a b-line for them. This one was the only one I could see, and it was a beauty.


Common Poppy Papaver rhoeas

© Peter Hillman ♦ 2nd June 2020 ♦ Local field, South Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Cat’s-ear


Hypochaeris radicata – I guess you was expecting a cat’s ear? Sorry to disappoint … but we have a beautful bright yellow wild flower native to Britain but considered a noxious weed in some areas, especially if it has invaded your quarters. If you wish to learn more about this sunshiny flower and see more photos you can go to its page by clicking ‘here’. You can also double-click the image to have a closer look.


Cat's-ear Hypochaeris radicata

© Peter Hillman ♦ 30th May 2020 ♦ Local field, South Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Oxeye Daisy


Leucanthemum vulgare – Strolling along the riverbank you can’t help but notice the beautiful display this daisy gives. Fairly tall and standing above most of the crowd, the large yellow and white flowerheads were alive with bees and beetles, all enjoying the rich nectar bounty on offer. Double-click on images to enlarge.

Oxeye Daisy Leucanthemum vulgare

Oxeye Daisy Leucanthemum vulgare

© Peter Hillman ♦ 27th May 2020 ♦ Local riverbank, South Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


To learn more about the Oxeye Daisy please visit the page by clicking on the link ‘Here’.


Garlic Mustard


Alliaria petiolata – You know when spring is near when you see these large green leaves start to appear on woodland margins or in hedgerows, amongst other places. It soon grows and the clusters of small white flowers soon show. If the large leaves are crushed they will give off a distinct smell of garlic. The whole plant is known for its medicinal properties, as well as for flavouring foods. Garlic Mustard is a foodplant for the Orange-tip butterfly. The caterpillars feed on the elongate seedpods. It is also an important food source for other butterflies as well as moth larvae, and other insects.


Garlic Mustard Alliaria petiolata

Garlic Mustard Alliaria petiolata

© Peter Hillman ♦ April & May 2020 ♦ Local woodland margin, South Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


You may find my Page of Life of interest, which allows easy access to all species of flora and fauna featured on this site, and might be considered a useful reference.


Common Dog-violet


Viola riviniana – Although unscented, these lovely little flowers have always popped up in my front garden during the spring. Many folk consider them to be a weed and pull them out. But I rather like them, and they never give me any bother, so I just leave them be. I have added a side view because that long slightly curved spur at the back helps in identification of violets that are similar. Double-click on images to enlarge.


Common Dog-violet Viola riviniana

Common Dog-violet Viola riviniana

© Peter Hillman ♦ 29th April 2020 ♦ Front garden, South Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Cuckooflower


Cardamine pratensis – Also called Lady’s-smock. When I first eyed this lovely flower on my allowed ‘once a day’ excercise walk, it took my breath clean away, I was so bedazzled by its beauty. This is a sure sign that spring has arrived. x2 photographs. Double click images to enlarge.


Cuckooflower Cardamine pratensis

Cuckooflower Cardamine pratensis

© Peter Hillman ♦ 10th April 2020 ♦ Local field, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


What The Bees Leave Behind


Daisy (Bellis perennis) – You can’t help but notice these pretty little daisies springing up all over now, little oasises for the spring insects for them to feed from. The way the pollen has been scattered around the centre of this one, I would say somebody has already been here.


Daisy Bellis perennis

© Peter Hillman ♦ 26th March 2020 ♦ Front grass verge, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Lesser Celandine


Ficaria verna – I am very fortunate that where I live I only have to walk five minutes and I am into woodland. So with the bright weather I have been managing to venture out for a few minutes. The sight of all these wonderful sunshine coloured flowers carpeting the woodland floor is such a joy to see and a lift to the heart. It has to be my favourite spring flower. I quite like the way the sun casts the bloom’s shadow to the right. Double-click image for a closer look.


Lesser celandine Ficaria verna

© Peter Hillman ♦ 26th March 2020 ♦ Local woodland path, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Hare’s-foot Clover


Trifolium arvense – This has to be one of my favouries of the clovers. They are so fine and delicate, especially if the light catches the fluffed up flowers just right. Double-click for a closer look.


Hare’s-foot Clover Trifolium arvense

Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 16th July 2019
Place: Local field, Staffordshire


Thistle


Not much to say really … apart from these lovely pink thistles were growing all over the local fields at the time and they really caught my eye. I hope they catch yours, too. I thought they might make a change from all the moths …


Thistle

Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 7th July 2019
Place: Local field, Staffordshire


White Campion


Silene latifolia – This is one of my favourite wild flowers, and it is always a pleasure to see on my walks. According to fossil records it was introduced to Britain during the Bronze Age. It flowers between May and October across much of Britain, except the far north and west.


White Campion Silene latifolia


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 7th July 2019
Place: Local woodland ride, Staffordshire


 

Pretty In Pink

Common Restharrow Ononis repens

When I first spied these little beauties along the seafront, especially as they appeared to glisten in the freshly fallen rain, I thought oh yes, wow! How lovely!

Common Restharrow Ononis repens

The small brightly pink flowers kind of jump out at you. The plant is called Common Restharrow (Ononis repens).

Common Restharrow Ononis repens

Common Restharrow Ononis repens

Exmouth, Devon. August 2019 © Pete Hillman.

Beauty On The Verge

Common Mallow Malva sylvestris

This ‘looker’ of a wild flower, rain-speckled and dotted with holes as it may be, is called the Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris), and can be seen either on wasteground, in a garden, or on a roadside verge near you this summer. It is a very good provider of nectar for the insect world.

Exmouth, Devon. © Pete Hillman August 2019

Delicate

Dog Rose Rosa canina

It is always a joy to see the Dog Rose Rosa canina on my walks through the local woods. It is a sign that summer is not too far away.

Click and click again on the image to get that little bit closer …


June 2019, local woodland margin, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Catching The Sun

Autmum fell to winter, and winter flew and we are already enjoying a wonderful spring here on this side of the pond. Finally I made it back after a fairly long hiatus, and I will look forward to catching up with you all!

This is one of my favourites which seemingly appeared out of nowhere in one of my flowerbeds. The Welsh Poppy Meconopsis cambrica has a the most beautiful sunny colours, so bright, cheery and vibrant the petals almost appear to capture the sun itself.


May 2019, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.


PS: Has anybody used the new ‘Block’ editor yet, and what do you think about it?

Meadowsweet

Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria

On a stroll around Derwentwater I saw drifts of this most beautiful flower Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria). It was even growing amongst the rocks on the shoreline. It is a member of the rose family Rosaceae, and it thrives in wet and damp places. It is commonly found in damp meadows and has a very sweet fragrance, hence its name.

Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria

July 2018, Derwentwater, Keswick, Cumbria, England. © Pete Hillman.

Wild Radish Raphanus raphanistrum

Wild Radish Raphanus raphanistrum

Click once to expand view, click again to get that little bit closer


June 2018, local field, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

White Clover Trifolium repens

White Clover Trifolium repens

White Clover Trifolium repens

Click once to expand view, click again to get that little bit closer


June 2018, local field, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Gemander Speedwell Veronica chamaedrys

Gemander Speedwell Veronica chamaedrys

This small, low-growing plant always catches my eye, and I just have to stop to admire it.


May 2018, Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, England. © Pete Hillman

Poppies Popping Up

Common Poppy Papaver rhoeas

Click once to expand view, click again to get that little bit closer


These are now popping up in the fields around and about. I have a thing for poppies of al kinds, but I do love the bright red against the greenery. Their tissue-thin crinkled petals catch and hold the light so beautifully, and change so as the light does.


Common Poppy Papaver rhoeas, June 2018, local field, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman. Sigma 18-300mm lens.

Red Clover Trifolium pratense

Red Clover Trifolium pratense

One of the many delights to be found in a wild flower meadow.

Red Clover Trifolium pratense

Click once to expand view, click again to get that little bit closer


May 2018, local field, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman. Sigma 18-300mm lens.