The Plumbaginaceae is an attractive family with ca 30 genera world wide although on the British Isles we only got 2 genera: Armeria and Limonium.
We start with Armeria maritimaor Thriftwhich is the only native species growing along our coasts. It is a common sight in British salt marshes too, where it flowers April to October.
Armeria maritima has a great copper-tolerance, and is able to grow in soils with copper concentrations of up to 6400 mg/kg. One mechanism proposed is that not much copper is transported up the shoot of the plant, and is excreted from decaying leaves.
The last 2 posts were about the native members of the Caprifoliaceae and members which had moved into the Adoxacea in the last edition of Stace.This post will talk about all the plants I missed out on in the earlier blogs.
The Adoxaceae is a small family consisting of five genera and about 150–200 species.
I had done a post back in 2018, which was all about the virtues of our Common Elder.
As there is a lot of information available about this plant on various websites I will just list most of the uses in a very edited form and you can find links to the various websites available. I like to specially mention the Eatweeds website by Robin Harford giving much interesting information about Elder and many other so called weeds!
I was just reminded that The Elder does not belong into the Caprifoliaceae family any longer but is now in the Adoxaceae family together with genus Viburnum which also used to be in the Caprifoliaceae!
Adoxacea is now family number 137 and Caprifoliaceae follows with number 138 in Stace.
But the Lonicera or Honeysuckle remains in the Caprifoliaceae or Honeysuckle family.
So this post is now going to be shorter than anticipated and I will just talk about our useful native members as well as a few ‘weedy’ non natives. Info with thanks from various websites given in the links.
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 with 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.
The generic name Plantago is derived from the Latin for sole and it should not be confused with the other unrelated, tropical plantain which is a starchy banana!
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 on the next page.
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 the Rose family. See for more on the next page.
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. This post will tell more about the uses of our native members of the Rosaceae.
In Stace it is family 48, 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 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 as mentioned in Stace. 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. Added with several of Mike’s plants are separate links to my blog posts where you can find more info also on that plant as well as its related brother and sister species!
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).