Rosebay willowherb and other natives of the Willowherb or Onagraceae family

Rosebay willowherb and Hogweed make a surprisingly attractive display at the Dingle, Walsall

The RHS have mentioned the Rosebay willowherb to be a weed which is therefore a good reason for me to write about this plant as well as some others in the same family.

It is in the Willowherb family or Onagraceae which is number 68 in Stace, just after the Geraniaceae or Crane’s-bill (66) and the Lythraceae or Purple-loosestrife (67).

Please Note: This is an educational blog only and can’t be responsible for self medication!

Find out more about this interesting plant family on the next page:

Ground Elder

Ground-elder is mentioned by the RHS as a menace in the garden and therefore a good reason for me to do this blog!

Beautiful detailed Botanical drawing of Ground-elder by Walter Müller (1888), courtesy of Wikipedia

Ground-elder or Aegopodium podagraria  is in the Apiaceae or Carrot family, which is number 138 in Stace.

The Apiaceae is another large and frequent occurring family in the temperate world and it has many useful varieties with the occasional weedy one!

This post was done end of January 2019, before the Gutenberg editing so decided to redo this as I’ve done the other many members of this family a while ago.

Stace has to say the following in the introduction of this family:

Continue reading “Ground Elder”

The Plantain family

This week a relative small family in our regions; the Plantaginaceae or the Plantains.

Greater Plantain or Plantago major is probably our best known species in this family

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.

The herbaceous members of the Rose Family

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 woody Rosaceae and their uses

Part 1; the woody plants in the rose family

The blossom of our Hawthorn is a beautiful site and an important member of the 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.

Continue reading “The woody Rosaceae and their uses”

Foraging plants and their uses; an easy guide by Mike Poulton

Nettle tops can be used as long as they look like this!

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).

Continue reading “Foraging plants and their uses; an easy guide by Mike Poulton”

Ten ‘Popular’ weeds

Japanese Knotweed and Bindweed making a happy display on my allotment every summer!

We made a new video showing ten more common weeds, which after this post hopefully will also be more popular! Unfortunately the embedding did not work this time so please click on the link below:

A brief description of the weeds with pictures by my partner Matt Summers, unless stated differently, follow below this introduction. Most weeds have been covered in a more detailed post in earlier posts and then mostly about their whole family for which there is a link on the start of each plant description.

Weeds are not all bad; they are just inconvenient for us human beings.

Maybe we were just going to plant another more attractive plant in that place or maybe we desperately needed that exact spot for making a new drive for all our vehicles we need to park in front of our house? Or another more common reason is to just remove it as it looks aesthetically not pleasing to our tidy eyes!

Don’t worry I can just be as bad sometimes and not have a really proper reason for removing a weed…

But this is the exact reason why I write about them and try to make us see all their known good uses they got. All their bad reasons for existence are mentioned on many websites and this is hopefully not why you came to my site in the first place?

Continue reading “Ten ‘Popular’ weeds”

My dream for an Ethnobotanical Garden!

This is an earlier blog which became lost somehow so will reinstall it using the neat Gotenberg editing of WordPress.

The whole idea of starting an Ethnobotanical garden came about after volunteering for 2 months at ‘Jardin Etnobotanico de Oaxaca’ in 2008!

So what is an Ethnobotanical garden? Hope to explain all about this and why I feel it is important to have one in this day and age of global warming and pandemics!

Continue reading “My dream for an Ethnobotanical Garden!”

Polygonaceae; Knotgrasses and Knotweeds: Part two!

Last week we talked about the more prominent genera and species of the Polygonaceae, this week about the other group, which has one famous non native weed: the Japanese knotweed. As we have all heard about this infamous one I would like to explore a little bit about its positive site, if there is any, and if there is anything we can do about its spread.

Japanese knotweed and native bindweed looking beautiful and innocent near my allotment boundary!
Japanese knotweed and native bindweed looking beautiful and innocent near my allotment boundary!

Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is a fast-growing and strong clump-forming perennial, with tall, dense annual stems. Stem growth is renewed each year from the stout, deeply-penetrating rhizomes (creeping underground stems). It is a very costly affair to have it removed see more here:

Continue reading “Polygonaceae; Knotgrasses and Knotweeds: Part two!”