I should have spent more time sorting out this one; an interesting subject.
One of the big invaders (we're told), along our waterways, and rivers, is the Indian Balsam.
It comes in pink, red, white, and shades in between, and has as many names too amongst them, Himalayan Balsam, Policeman's Helmet, Poor man's Orchid, Nuns, Jumping Jacks, Stinky Pops and Bee-bums. It was introduced to the UK by a remarkable man, John Forbes Royle. Royle was born in India in 1799 but educated in Scotland, developing an interest in botany.
Another plant, from the same family, Balsaminaceae, is the Orange Balsam.
Like the Indian Balsam, this riverside plant is also a foreign import, but from North America. It occurs frequently along rivers and lake edges, but it is not as invasive as Indian Balsam. Because the ripe seed pods explode on contact it is also known as 'Touch-me-not'.
A Killer next? Well, Lord's and Ladies does have poisonous berries.
Arum maculatum is a common woodland plant species of the Araceae family. It is widespread across temperate northern Europe and is known by an abundance of common names including Wild arum, Devils and Angels, Cows and Bulls, Cuckoo-Pint, Adam and Eve, Bobbins, Naked Boys, Starch-Root and Wake Robin.
The berries contain oxalates of saponins which have needle-shaped crystals which irritate the skin, mouth, tongue, and throat, and result in swelling of throat, difficulty breathing, burning pain, and upset stomach.
A well known poisoner is the Foxglove.
Digitalis purpurea, or also known as, Dead Men's Bells, Fairy Fingers, Fairy Thimbles, Floppy Dock, and Throatwort.
Due to the presence of the cardiac glycoside digitoxin, the leaves, flowers and seeds of this plant are all poisonous to humans and some animals and can be fatal if eaten.
I'm still around; just. It's been a crazy week at work, and quite busy out of work too. Not many weeks to the end for me now, and a lot of friends and colleagues leave today and tomorrow. Still busy with union stuff, a new front door fitted at home yesterday, a cardiac clinic the day before, that was cancelled on the day, and Jim wakes me around 2:30 a.m. every day. Then when I get up, he has the cheek to go back to sleep!
Maybe this should be a 'white flag'; I feel like surrendering!
Just the one picture today.
Way back in April, I had a few days off work, the weather was hot and sunny, and I'd previously made arrangements to visit a fellow blogger, Adrian, who was up in the Lake District, parked up in a beautiful spot at Patterdale; a stones throw from Ullswater.
I did a couple of posts about it after I came back; they're here and here.
One particular morning, after getting up with the lark, we headed off to the waters edge, armed with our cameras and the two dogs. A few pictures were taken, and I watched a couple of Blue Tits flying around from a nearby tree.
Suddenly they were locked together as one small ball of blue and yellow feathers, and fell to the ground.
The following shots were quickly taken, before an inquisitive Molly, or was it Archie, intervened. They quickly flew up into the trees, and all became calm again.
But, for a few moments, a ferocious battle had taken place.
Sorry about the picture overload, but it was fascinating to observe.
Well, another week has caught me out. I went to bed on Tuesday, and suddenly it's Friday. Where has the week gone?
Flower time again, and I've not really sorted out anything how I'd like to have done; but here's a lovely little flower, that seems to be in full bloom everywhere there's grass at the moment.
Probably better known by it's common name, Self-heal, although I found it to have many other names.
Square stem, Thimble flower, Sickle-heal, Sicklewort, Slough-heal, Hookweed, Panay, Proud carpenter, Herb carpenter, Hercules' all-heal, Hook-heal, Carpenter's herb, Heart of the earth, Brunel, Caravaun bog, Carpenter grass, Blue curls, Brownwort, Heal-all, All-heal, Bumble-bees, Herb, Fly Flowers, Heart of the Earth, Hook-heal, London Bottles, Pick Pocket, Pimpernel, Prince's Feather.
Self-heal is a native perennial found in grassland, lawns, wood clearings, field margins and rough ground. It is abundant in grassy places except the most acid.
It is incredibly vigorous, and spreads by underground stems that shoot out in every direction once the first root is stuck in the ground. Self Heal grows up to 60 cm high, with a thick dark green stem with a few broad leaves and purple-brown, blue-purple flowers, and flowers from May to September.
Selfheal has a wide range of uses in traditional medicine.
Prior to World War II, it was used to staunch bleeding and for treating heart disease. A decoction of the leaves was used to treat sore throats and internal bleeding. It is used as an anti-inflammatory and has anti-allergic activity. In western medicine it is used externally for treating minor injuries, sores, burns, bruises and can also be used as a mouthwash to treat mouth ulcers.
According to the 16th-century herbalist John Gerard, ‘there is not a better wounde herbe in the world’.
The 17th-century botanist Nicholas Culpeper wrote that the plant is called selfheal because ‘when you are hurt, you may heal yourself’.