Saturday 26 September 2015

Meadow Flowers

To the left of the path that leads out of Milton Country Park and into Fen Road, there is a semi-circle of rough meadow.  At the time that I photographed there in mid to late July, most of the area was covered with long grass which was going to seed.

Hedge parsley and ragwort growing in seeding grasses
Meadow by Fen Road Exit - 15 July 2015

In amongst the grass were patches of hedge parsley, which looks much like stunted cow parsley, but is a separate species flowering later than its larger cousin.  

Thistles in seeding grass
Meadow by Fen Road Exit - 26 July 2015

 Thistles were also very common in the same patch.

Meadow by Fen Road Exit - 15 July 2105

The area did yield one surprise: a patch of lady's bedstraw.  I think this is the only place that this plant can be seen in the park.

All Change


Field bindweed and cinquefoil
Meadow by Fen Road Exit - 15 July 2015

It was the smaller part of this area which was not covered by the taller grasses that prompted me to write this post.  The image above shows the area full of cinquefoil and field bindweed.  It is the sort of scene that is incredibly difficult to capture in a photograph.  To the naked eye, the bindweed stands out from a mass of yellow cinquefoil flowers.  The harsh reality, as revealed by the camera, is that most of the area is green sparsely punctuated with yellow with a few pink and white highlights.

But, for me, the real interest in this area is complete change that occurred in just eleven days.

Ribbed melitot
Meadow by Fen Road Exit - 26 July 2015

The whole area has been taken over by ribbed melitot, with no sign at all of either the bindweed or cinquefoil seen previously.  There was a hint of things to come in the earlier image, in that, on close inspection, ribbed melitot leaves are visible.  

With the twenty twenty vision of hindsight, I would have paid more attention to this area earlier.  Had there already been a similar transition?  Is this an annual occurrence, or is this a one off and the ribbed melitot is now the dominant plant?  I shall watch more closely next year.

Scentless maywee
Meadow by Fen Road Exit - 26 July 2015

The one plant that was not completely overwhelmed by the new regime was scentless mayweed.  

Continuing my interest in the origin of plant names, I was interested to find out why a plant flowering in July is called mayweed.  Was it a case of confusion with another similar plant?  Apparently, the plant gets its name from the Danish 'may' meaning maiden and not from the month of flowering, and was so called because it was used to treat complaints of young ladies.

Next: Water

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