Useful Betulaceae part 2

In my last blog the main genus in the Betulaceae or Betula was listed with all the known uses of its 3 species in the British Isles. Today I like to cover the other 3 genera which all only have one native species each.

The 3 genera + species are:

  • Alnus glutinosa or Alder
  • Carpinus betulus or Hornbeam
  • Corylus avellana or Hazel
A stand of Alder along the brook at Cannock Chase

Information for this blog is again from various websites, for more information follow the links on the plant names!

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The Useful Betulaceae!

Showing the very recognizable stems of our native Silver Birch.
The very recognizable stems of the Silver Birch at Cannock Chase

After all the short flowering plants, this time a blog on the woody trees called Betulaceae, which includes the main genus, Betula or Birch but also our native Alder, Hornbeam and Hazel belong in this family.

The Betulaceae or Birch Family is number 55 in Stace and has 3 straight native species of Birch as well as several hybrids, subspecies and introduced, ornamental varieties.

The birch is a typical pioneer, which means it can colonize new land very rapidly in the right conditions and can therefore be seen as a weed by some who wouldn’t like them to do this!

But most of us can agree that the Birch tree is very beautiful and hoping for you to learn in the following text that it is also a very useful tree as are its cousins, Alder, Hornbeam and Hazel about which I will tell you more in the second part!

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More members of Asteraceae

Close up from our Common Knapweed or Centaurea nigra. The main heading of my wonderful weed blog is of Greater Knapweed or Centaurea scabiosa! See further in today’s block to learn about all this genus virtues.

Today I will write about some more members of our native Asteraceae or composites and daisy family in common terms. All known medicinal uses and other uses are mentioned.

In the last post I covered the what we see as the common daisies: yellow centred disk flowered with a ray of white florets as well as a few other composites or Asteraceae.

This time we start with plants we don’t immediately associate with the composites, but closely observed we find always the common combination of many disc florets, surrounded or not with ray florets.

Then finishing off with the other typical group of the Asteraceae which are the various ‘dandelion like’ flower members!

Most information again from the Medicinal Flora by J. Barker. The links to the scientific and common name provide also with good, general information about the plants!

To make the post more colourful I have given the plant a background of the flower colour!

First of all then the Artemisias or Wormwoods:

The Artemisias:  There are less than a dozen native artemisias  on the British Isles and it should be noted that they are CUMULATIVELY TOXIC AND IN OVERDOSE MAY CAUSE IRREPERABLE DAMAGE TO THE BODY!

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Members of Asteraceae and their uses

Bellis perennis or our common Daisy is most welcomein any lawn!
Bellis perennis or our common Daisy is most welcome in any lawn!

In my last blog I introduced you to mainly the medicinal uses of the Asteraceae or the Daisy family.

Today I will list some of this fast and successful family in our temperate climate.

As I’ve already included pictures in the general blog on Asteraceae back in the summer I will only include links on both of the plant names so you will be able to read more about each plant on other useful websites.

I will also colour code the blocks on the colour of the flower. Hope you will find that useful as well as pretty!

Most of the below information is again from the Medicinal Flora by Julian Barker.

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Asteraceae part 2 and the usefulness to us!

The post on Asteraceae of 8th June this year went through the entire classification and might have been a little tedious for you?

However, I do hope you find it fascinating like myself how classification does make sense, especially in large families such as the Composites. It neatly groups similar looking plants together and when these plants ‘look similar’ they most likely also have the same properties and uses. This week we come to the part important for us as people. Of course weeds or native plants as I like to call them, are ALWAYS useful in any habitat situation, soil and indeed for other living creatures apart from ourselves.

When we pull out the dandelion or ragwort we are taking away a valuable food source for multiples of creatures. Is it really worth that?

In the following few blogs about this family I once again will copy a lot of interesting information from‘The Medicinal Flora of Britain and Northwestern Europe’ by J. Barker. It is just too good for information not to note down. Please get a copy for yourself as you won’t regret it! As Medicine is a science like Botany or Horticulture it also has a lot of specialist scientific wording which is difficult to understand, even for myself! I will therefore include many links for the Actions and Uses of the plants mentioned this time for you to research this further. Many interesting facts of these plants can also be found following the links within the plant names.

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Bagnall’s Herbarium at Birmingham Botanical Collections

An example of Herbarium book with Japanese plants, Siebold collection Leiden, 1825
By P. F. Siebold – Sieboldcollectie Naturalis, Public Domain and thanks to Wikipedia

Hello dear Readers!

The Tuesdays of last few month I’ve been busy with research in Birmingham’s Museum Warehouses. I’ve been looking at the vast amount of dried specimen plants of one of the 6 or so Herbariums they have stored in there.

Why I wanted to research Bagnall’s Herbarium in particular was because of the many local native plants he collected as well as the many plants from Sutton Park. This is a national important nature reserve and SSSI. More about this later!

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Wonderful Weeds Weekly about: Weeds and Lawns

I found the information below interesting as many of my customers find weeds in their lawn unbearable.

They like a weed and moss-free, stripy cut lawn.

But to create this is a very high input and costly affair as it will need lots of maintenance with feed + weed-killers and watering in dry years!

Is this all worth it?

Maybe there is a market for a stripy astro turf!

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The Wonderful Weed Weekly Blog

To talk kindly about the weeds in my weekly blog, we first need to identify those weeds of which many people despise…!

I found the RHS website very useful please see here as well as how to tackle them.

I don’t really want to repeat what this brilliant website says, as my weekly blog wants to highlight the positive things about those weeds which are also just being themselves; one of the many native plants of these Isles. They grow in soil and habitat that they naturally like to grow in and often we are actually helping them greatly by providing a pleasant environment to thrive even more!

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LOVE YOUR WEEDS!

In the last blog I explained some scientific terms which you will find in my blogs. This time I explain a little more why I want to start a blog all about Ethnobotany and our native plants..

The more I work with all kinds of plants, in my daily life and work, the more I appreciate them, and this even includes ‘WEEDS’, or our native plants as I prefer to call them; or even wild flowers as many are pretty as well as useful…. Or ‘PRETTY USEFUL’!!

Crambe maritima or Sea kale looking stunning in its native habitat!


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