Saturday, May 21st 2016
Despite the very wet winter, cold nights and every other weather that we have had, the flowers are flourishing. Walking around the reserve it is amazing to see the Bluebells and to find them growing in so many more places than a few year ago. How they are spreading is a slight mystery. In the large areas they spread by their bulbs, but where there is just one or two on their own, raises interesting questions. Have they grown from seed, which can take several years to develop and flower? Have we moved a bulb somehow when working? It does not really matter as they are so beautiful.
Many insects value these flowers in the early spring and can pollinate them. However there are some bees that pierce the base of the bell to reach the nectar and so do not pollinate the flower.
A patch of bright yellow on the pond fringes is Marsh Marigold. These flowers, with a possible 100 stamens, provide plenty of pollen for visiting insects.
Out on the moor Common Milkwort is in flower. This flower will be scrutinised yet again in the hope that it may be Heath Milkwort! The names of many flower reflect what it was thought they could do. An infusion of Milkwort was supposed to increase the flow of a nursing mother's milk.
One flower of Greater Stitchwort was recorded then a few more until, now it is turning areas of the reserve white. In ancient times this plant was associated with the healing of broken bones, because the stem breaks easily at thepoint where the leaf joins the stem. The Greek word holos means whole and osteon means bone and these words can be seen in the Latin name - Stellaria holostea.
Cuckoo Flower named so because it flowers when the Cuckoo sings. Its other names, Milkmaids and Lady's Smock are associated with milkmaids and their smocks. When it first opens it can be quite a dark pink, but as it ages so the colour fades.
The monthly flower walk takes place on Wednesday and we will need a clip board to record the many flowers that pass the 'flower test' this month.
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