This week a relative small family in our regions; the Plantaginaceae or the Plantains.
The Plantaginaceae is now in the 121st family in the latest 4th edition of Stace, behind the colourful Veronicaceae (Speedwell family) and before the obscure Hippuridaceae (Mare’s-tail family). It consist of just two genera, Plantago with 7 species and Littorella just one species.
Each species is a much more humble plant, not really shouting out for attention as some of our plant families covered in earlier blogs.
In my eyes it is an attractive genus with boldness in its various leaf outlines and interesting flower spikes.
Find out about all their uses to us people and our wildlife.
In my last post we covered all the more woody plants of this large family, which are most important to us for mainly their fruits. This week I like to talk about their much smaller members, which also have an important part to play for especially our wildlife but also surprisingly in our medical history or present day use.
There are again several genera represented in the British Isles of the smaller, herbaceous and occasionally sub-shrubs of this Rose family.
The Rosaceae or Rose family is a large and important family containing trees, shrubs, sub-shrubs and herbs. Although occurring worldwide, the greatest numbers of species are being found in the North Temperate region.
In Stace it is family 44 so relative early in the evolution of the Flowering plants. It has 36 genera but several genera + species are introduced garden plants and of course are easily spread by the seeds in mostly their fruits which are attractive as a food for birds in particular, spreading the plants far and wide into natural areas.
As this blog is not about ornamental plants but is about our useful ‘weeds’ I will use the order of genera mentioned in ‘The Wild Flower Key. This has less of those ornamental genera and species. It has also lumped all the trees and shrubs together followed by the herbs.
This week we’ll start with all the native trees and shrubs in the Rose family.
Foraging has been done for centuries but is hopefully getting a bit of a revival, people like to have a connection with nature again, especially with their daily exercise in lockdown situation and what a better way to do this then to go out there and forage!
So today I would like to introduce you to a document received from fellow botanist Mike Poulton, who used to do training sessions on foraging for wild plants. It was published before in my blog in 2018 but now with the aid of Gutenberg editing it can be made even more attractive.
The edible parts of the native plants are listed with their common names and categorized in 5 sections: leaves and shoots (1), herbs (2), edible flowers (3), fruits and seeds (4) and roots (5).
What is now called The Fabaceae, was long known as Leguminosae and commonly these are known as the legume, pea, or bean family.
This is a large and economically important family in the world. It includes trees, shrubs, and perennial or annual herbaceous plants, which are easily recognized by their fruit (legume) and/or their compound, stipulate leaves.
In case there are any medical uses stated with the plants mentioned below, please take sensible advise from a qualified herbalist.
If you would like to learn a bit more about the classification of this large family I can recommend Britannica.com webpage
The background colour of the text indicate green for positive news and pink for negative news… In bold for quick reading and any other colour then green and pink used is to make it more pretty! Links are provided on medical or other difficult words.
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
Information for this blog is again from various websites, for more information follow the links on the plant names!
After all the short flowering plants, this time a blog on the tall 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!