Wednesday 29th May 2013
Take part in our Flower Species Count on Saturday 1st June. Learn more about some of the Colney wildflowers below.
Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea
Foxgloves are also called Fairy Gloves, Fairy Bells, Floppy Dock and Tod Tails. The name digitalis comes from the Latin for finger; this relates to the shape of the flowers. Purpurea refers to the flower colour, these are usually purple but can sometimes be white – both can be found at Colney during the Summer months. Common Foxglove contains digitoxin, which has been used as a heart stimulant since 1785, although the leaves are poisonous if eaten. In the United States, the Common Foxglove is considered to be a weed but it is one of Colney’s beautiful wildflowers and is native to the UK and many other European Countries.
Bluebell, Hyacinthoides non-scripta
Bluebells can be found in woodland, on shady banks and hedgerows. They grow best in undisturbed soil with with good light levels in early Spring and have been found in British woodlands since the 1600′s. Their nectar provides a rich food source for insects and butterflies and they are a wildflower which are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; they may not be removed for sale and a special licence has to be applied for in order to collect seeds. There is currently concern that Spanish, hybrid and cultivated Bluebells are threatening the native non-scripta, which is why we at Colney are so proud of our annual display of native non-scripta Bluebells which can usually be seen late April/early May. You can see photographs of the Colney 2013 native Bluebell display on our Facebook page facebook.com/ColneyWoodlandBurials
Wood Forget-me-not, Myosotis sylvatica
Wood Forget-me-not is found throughout the UK, though is most common in the South and East. It has hairy stems and narrow oval leaves with clusters of five sky-blue petals. It is considered to be an indicator of ancient woodland. As with many wildflowers, Wood Forget-me-not is a good source of pollen and nectar for bees and butterflies.
Lily of the Valley, Convallaria majalis
Lily of the Valley is a common woodland plant and is prized for its beautiful scent and gentle drooping habit. They spread from rhizomes underground. The Lily of the Valley is often called May Lily or May Bells and in France it is traditionally offered to a loved one on May 1st. In Germany it symbolises life to Pagans and features in many other tales in legends and mythology.
Red Campion, Silene dioica
Red Campion is often found growing in rich soils in light, shady woodland and hedgerows. It belongs to the ‘pinks’ family, which grows from rhizomes and is a perennial. It can grow up to a metre in height and is a common sight throughout the country from late Spring to late Summer.
Herb Robert, Geranium robertianum
Herb Robert is a species of cranesbill and is commonly found throughout the UK, flowering from April until late Autumn. Historically, it was used as a remedy for certain ailments and was also said to attract good luck if carried. The small flowers are bright pink, and fade to white at the centre.
This is just a small selection of the wildflowers which can be found at Colney. On Saturday 1st June we have a special self-guided walk and species count so why not come along any time between 10am and 3pm to see for yourself? Our Sunday tea shop will be open as normal between 9.30am and 2.30pm in the Gathering Hall.