Figwort and Field Rose

Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Tuesday 25th May 1999

EVENING SUN gilds the canal-side birches, turning them, for a moment, into a Claude Lorraine landscape. Midges dance as golden points of light.

black bryony Black Bryony has its heart-shaped dark glossy leaves arranged in a swag draped through the branches of a hedgerow thorn.

field rose Field Rose has come into flower. The blooms are always white, rather than tinted pink as in most Dog Roses. While the Dog Rose has a little green button in the centre of the flower, the Field Rose has a projecting club. This club is formed by the stigmas, the female parts of the flower, which are fused together. When the hips ripen in the autumn the shrivelled club remains attached. The Field Rose tends to scramble through the hedge while the Dog Rose has strong, arching stems and can form a bushy clump.

I was mistaken about this, in fact only Dog Rose was in flower, the Field Rose flowers a few weeks later. R.B., 25th June.

common figwort figwort flower Common Figwort is in flower at the foot of the hedge. The tips of the reddish petals peep out of a small greenish sepal tube which looks like a chubby boa constrictor's head. In previous years this little colony of figworts has been all but obliterated as beetle larvae nibble the leaves, covering the plant with a sticky residue.

goldfinch and starling A Goldfinch sings from a rooftop aerial, trilling almost like a canary, but with a more jingly tone.

John has more success photographing the Robin chicks when he uses a remote control. He notices the adults spend a lot of time with beak-fulls of food calling from the washing line. He reckons they are trying to entice the chicks out and this will be his last chance to photograph them. They sit there panting in the heat, looking uncomfortably crowded in the teapot nest.

Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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