Galega officinalis

Goat’s-rue Galega officinalis

This rather bushy perennial has pink or white peaflowers, or most often a combination of the two. The flowers are on long-stalked spikes. The leaves are pinnate.

Goat’s-rue Galega officinalis

It flowers July to September, and it can sometimes cover whole areas in fields. It is also found on damp road verges and railway embankments, river or stream banks, ditches and waste ground. Introduced from the Middle East and cultivated in the 16th century, now naturalised. Widespread and common in central and southern England, scarcer or absent elsewhere.

Goat’s-rue Galega officinalis

Goat’s-rue has been known to help reduce symptoms of diabetes by lowering blood sugars since the Middle Ages.

Goat’s-rue (Galega officinalis). Nature reserve, Staffordshire, England. July 2013.

Tufted Vetch

Vicia cracca

Tufted Vetch Vicia cracca

Also called ‘Cow Vetch’ or ‘Bird Vetch’, this plant produces an abundance of deep violet-blue flowers on long spikes. The leaves are divided into many pairs (5-12 pairs) of narrow lanceolate leaflets. At the end of the leaf is a tendril which helps to support the plant by clasping onto other, more robust species.

Tufted Vetch Vicia cracca

It flowers June to August. A spectacular sight in meadows. Also found in old pasture, woodland edges, hedgerows, scrub and coastal shingle. A native species, and common and widespread.

Tufted Vetch Vicia cracca

July 2011, local field, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2011.

Red Clover II

Red Clover Trifolium pratense

Red Clover Trifolium pratense

Red Clover Trifolium pratense

Red Clover Trifolium pratense

For more information on this beuatiful plant please se my previous Red Clover page.

July 2011, local field, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2011.

White Clover

Trifolium repens

White Clover Trifolium repens flower

Also called ‘Dutch Clover’, it is a herbaceous perennial plant which spreads by means of rooting runners. The leaves are composed of three oval leaflets which have a whitish V-shaped band, which may not always be evident. The ball-shaped cluster flower head is composed of rounded peaflowers which are white or cream, with the lower flowers drooping down below and fanning out slightly.

White Clover Trifolium repens

It flowers June to September. Found in pastures, roadside verges, meadows, garden lawns and other grassy habitats. Abundant and widespread throughout.

White Clover Trifolium repens leaf

White Clover is an important source of pollen for bees, butterflies and other insects.

June 2012, local field, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2012.


Garden Lupin

Lupinus polyphyllus

Garden Lupin (Lupinus polyphyllus)

This is another one of my garden favourites, the Lupin. My Dad grew lots of these in his garden when I was a boy. There were all the colours of the rainbow in one border, and the bees buzzed all around them as butterflies fluttered nearby. Those were the best summers I remember from a young age.

Garden Lupin (Lupinus polyphyllus)

Also called the ‘Large-leaved Lupin’, this is a tall, spiked and magnificent flower rising into a spire of delicately formed peaflowers. The blooms come in varied colours of pink, purple, blue, white, yellow and also bicolours. The leaves are also quite spectacular, large and radiating finger-like with 9-17 elongated digits.

Garden Lupin (Lupinus polyphyllus) leaves

It flowers June to August, and is found mainly in gardens, but it has become widely naturalised and can be found growing on roadside verges, embankments, river banks, and many grassy places.

Garden Lupin (Lupinus polyphyllus) buds

A common and widespread species which was first introduced in the 19th century from the mountainous region of western North America. It is one of the parents in crosses that formed the famous Russell Lupin.

Garden Lupin (Lupinus polyphyllus) seeds

May and July 2012, and July 2011, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2011 and 2012.

Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil

Lotus corniculatus

I discovered this little oasis of bright colours in a local field, where a variety of insects were buzzing and busying, enjoying sips of sweet nectar. The bright yellow or orange flowers of this plant certainly catch the eye. The buds are reddish-orange before opening up yellow. The leaves are pinnate and consist of five leaflets, although initially appearing trifoliate.The fruit are slender pods shaped like a bird’s foot. Plant height 5 to 30cm. Flower size 1 to 1.6cm long.

It flowers June to September.

Found in grassy fields, pastures, embankments, scrub and verges. A common and widespread species.

Photographs taken June 2015, local field, Staffordshire.