Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
ground ivy forget-me-not

A Handful of Weeds

Wednesday 10th May 2000
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I PICK A HANDFUL of weeds in the back garden. There's a little forget-me-not, one of several species we get locally.

bush vetch Bush Vetch is an attractive wildflower which might be more popular in wildflower gardening if it wasn't so invasive. I couldn't resist leaving a little of it to grow when we took over the garden years ago and it now crops up all over the place.

ground ivy Despite its name, Ground Ivy doesn't seem to be so determined to spread.

shepherd's purse Shepherd's Purse is a Crucifer, a member of the mustard and cabbage family. Its small petals form a small cross. The heart-shaped seedpods seed podare similar in shape to the leather purses that were carried carried by medieval shepherds.

Hairy Bittercress is also a crucifer. The seedpods have an explosive mechanism which can fling seeds the best part of a metre. This plant grows and set seed quickly in the spring and is a common garden weed. It's Latin name, Cardamine hairy bittercresshirsuta, indicates that it is a close relative of Cardamine pratensis, the Cuckoo Flower or Lady's Smock. Until you look closely at the flowers of the bittercress it is difficult to believe there is such a close family resemblance.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

E-mail; 'richard@daelnet.co.uk'

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