Whilst I was wandering about looking for insects at the end of May and into June, I began to look at some common species of wildflowers. As with the insects, it is easy to miss the obvious and walk past a beautiful and fascinating world, literally at your feet.
I can recognise families, but it is a long time since I’ve tried to specifically name any wildflowers let alone those growing on the various deposit tanks across the marsh.
Anyway, after noticing sprawling carpets of sky blue and cadmium yellow on No.4 tank, I began to take pictures with the aim of identifying them later. This in itself is a risky strategy as any botanist will tell you. What I had to do was to get down on my hands and knees with a hand lens and a suitable identification guide… but I am not that patient and didn’t have either a book or a lens on me anyway.
The added bonus was that many of the flowers were being visited by insects, there were bumblebees, solitary bees, butterflies and flies, so I enjoyed many hours wandering about in the sunshine looking at their interactions
I have spent a lot of time trying to correctly name the flowers below and I could be wrong, so anyone with other ideas please leave a comment and your correction. However, there was a wealth of information on the internet and many photographs to compare with, so I’m confident most are right. After all, they are meant to be ‘common’!
I’m not going into the tedious and boring explanation of identification features or habitat requirements, but will just include pictures that show the flowers off to best effect and hopefully show how lovely even those ‘common’ species that are often taken for granted, can be and, just look at some of the names i.e’Dove’s-foot Crane’s-bill’…Wow! What a name! ‘Common Mouse-ear’…’Common Stork’s-bill’…and of course….’Field Forget-me-not’, a name for a flower that dates back to the 15th century and which originated in Germany as the German name for this flower is ‘Vergissmeinnicht’ which is three words, ‘Vergiss mein nicht’, in English, ‘Forget me not’.
There is a romantic legend behind the name. In 15th-Century Germany, it was supposed that the wearers of the flower would not be forgotten by their lovers. Legend has it that in medieval times, a knight and his lady were walking along the side of a river. He picked a posy of flowers, but because of the weight of his armor he fell into the river. As he was drowning he threw the posy to his loved one and shouted “Forget-me-not.” It was often worn by ladies as a sign of faithfulness and enduring love.
Common Birds-foot Trefoil
Doves foot Cranes-bill
Written and illustrated by Tony Broome. Flowers are: Water-lily, Yellow Flag Iris, Wildflowers, White Clover, Red Clover, Forget-me-not, Common Mouse-eared, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Doves-foot Cranes-bill, Common Storks bill.
Southern Marsh Orchid by WSM.