Names, mythology, uses and folk-lore: A very large number of names have been devised for the foxglove. These include: bunny rabbit’s (mouth), witch’s thimble, ladies thimble, goose/cow/fox flops, virgin’s fingers, wild mercury and many, many more. The foxglove name is just that – the fox’s glove. It has also been given fairy associations.

In ...

Names, mythology, uses and folk-lore: A very large number of names have been devised for the foxglove. These include: bunny rabbit’s (mouth), witch’s thimble, ladies thimble, goose/cow/fox flops, virgin’s fingers, wild mercury and many, many more. The foxglove name is just that – the fox’s glove. It has also been given fairy associations.

In ...

 

EYEBRIGHT – Euphrasia officianalis: Scrophulariaceae family 

The plant: This is a plant which grows in undisturbed grassy areas. There are about thirty or more variants – but to the country walker the differences are of little importance. It is found throughout the country but is best described as locally common. Some types grow up ...

 

EYEBRIGHT – Euphrasia officianalis: Scrophulariaceae family 

The plant: This is a plant which grows in undisturbed grassy areas. There are about thirty or more variants – but to the country walker the differences are of little importance. It is found throughout the country but is best described as locally common. Some types grow up ...

YELLOW RATTLE – Rhinanthus minor – Scrophulariaceae family

The plant: This plant comes in all shapes and sizes - from a few centimetres to sixty or seventy. It is semi-parasitic, living especially on grass roots. As a result it is usually seen on grassland, but also in grassy woods. This flower was pictured in a field near the village of Snod’s ...

YELLOW RATTLE – Rhinanthus minor – Scrophulariaceae family

The plant: This plant comes in all shapes and sizes - from a few centimetres to sixty or seventy. It is semi-parasitic, living especially on grass roots. As a result it is usually seen on grassland, but also in grassy woods. This flower was pictured in a field near the village of Snod’s ...

IVY-LEAVED TOADFLAX – Cymbalaria muralis: Scruphulariaceae

The plant: The plant is seen throughout England and Wales, but less commonly in Scotland. Typically grows on rocks and garden walls, and on the sides of paths. It is a plant from Southern Europe and was probably introduced in to Britain in the seventeenth century. Grigson says that ...

IVY-LEAVED TOADFLAX – Cymbalaria muralis: Scruphulariaceae

The plant: The plant is seen throughout England and Wales, but less commonly in Scotland. Typically grows on rocks and garden walls, and on the sides of paths. It is a plant from Southern Europe and was probably introduced in to Britain in the seventeenth century. Grigson says that ...

BLOOD-DROP-EMLETS – Mimulus luteus: Scrophulariaceae   

The plant: usually seen by the side of streams and rivers, or in damp earth. The plants photographed were in Upper Teesdale at a height of about 400m and I have seen other large clusters on Cheviot in Northumberland at a height of about 500m. They are virtually absent in the ...

BLOOD-DROP-EMLETS – Mimulus luteus: Scrophulariaceae   

The plant: usually seen by the side of streams and rivers, or in damp earth. The plants photographed were in Upper Teesdale at a height of about 400m and I have seen other large clusters on Cheviot in Northumberland at a height of about 500m. They are virtually absent in the ...

MIMULUS

MONKEY FLOWER – Mimulus guttatus: Scrophulariaceae

The plant: likes its feet in water – seen by streams and in damp areas. Came to Europe from the Aleutian Islands between Alaska and Russia where the climate is pretty awful: it is cold and foggy and there are over 250 days of rain each year. Has adapted well to U.K. conditions and after ...

MIMULUS

MONKEY FLOWER – Mimulus guttatus: Scrophulariaceae

The plant: likes its feet in water – seen by streams and in damp areas. Came to Europe from the Aleutian Islands between Alaska and Russia where the climate is pretty awful: it is cold and foggy and there are over 250 days of rain each year. Has adapted well to U.K. conditions and after ...

BIRD’S-EYE PRIMROSE – Primula farinose: Primulaceae The plant: This lime-stone loving plant is rare and seen only in a few places in the North of England on open damp grasslands and heath. This plant was seen in a syke (small stream) in Upper Teesdale near Cow Green reservoir. Grows to about 10cm. Where seen it can be locally common. The plant ...

BIRD’S-EYE PRIMROSE – Primula farinose: Primulaceae The plant: This lime-stone loving plant is rare and seen only in a few places in the North of England on open damp grasslands and heath. This plant was seen in a syke (small stream) in Upper Teesdale near Cow Green reservoir. Grows to about 10cm. Where seen it can be locally common. The plant ...

PRIMROSE – Primula vulgaris: Primulaceae

The plant: a perennial plant of early spring. Grows to about 20cm, although often smaller. Seen in hedgerows, damp grassy areas (if shaded) and also in woodland areas and banksides such as railway cuttings. Grows well in lime-stone areas and is not so happy on acidic soils. Has been declining – possibly ...

PRIMROSE – Primula vulgaris: Primulaceae

The plant: a perennial plant of early spring. Grows to about 20cm, although often smaller. Seen in hedgerows, damp grassy areas (if shaded) and also in woodland areas and banksides such as railway cuttings. Grows well in lime-stone areas and is not so happy on acidic soils. Has been declining – possibly ...

COWSLIP – Primula veris: Primulaceae

The plant: Commonly seen in areas where primroses grow – hedgerows, embankments (especially old railways embankments), undisturbed meadows – particularly on chalky/limestone soils. There has been a decline in recent years, possibly due to the cutting of grass verges or over harvesting of the plants for wine. ...

COWSLIP – Primula veris: Primulaceae

The plant: Commonly seen in areas where primroses grow – hedgerows, embankments (especially old railways embankments), undisturbed meadows – particularly on chalky/limestone soils. There has been a decline in recent years, possibly due to the cutting of grass verges or over harvesting of the plants for wine. ...

SCARLET PIMPERNEL – Anagallis arvensis ssp arvensis: Primulaceae (creeping)

The plant: a hairless annual seen usually on disturbed ground although this plant was photographed in a sand dune area of Holy Island. Can form quite a spreading network.

The flowers: One cm in diameter, there are five petals which can be red, pinkish-orange and ...

SCARLET PIMPERNEL – Anagallis arvensis ssp arvensis: Primulaceae (creeping)

The plant: a hairless annual seen usually on disturbed ground although this plant was photographed in a sand dune area of Holy Island. Can form quite a spreading network.

The flowers: One cm in diameter, there are five petals which can be red, pinkish-orange and ...

OXLIP – FALSE: Primula veris x vulgaris: Primulaceae

The plant: created by cross pollination of cowslips and primrose by insects – it is a hybrid of these two. It is found where the cowslip and primrose are seen together although it is much less common than the parent plants.

The flowers: These are primrose like, about fifteen mm across and, ...

OXLIP – FALSE: Primula veris x vulgaris: Primulaceae

The plant: created by cross pollination of cowslips and primrose by insects – it is a hybrid of these two. It is found where the cowslip and primrose are seen together although it is much less common than the parent plants.

The flowers: These are primrose like, about fifteen mm across and, ...

Wood-sorrel – Oxalis acetosella: Oxalidaceae

The plant: This plant is a creeper essentially – but also a perennial. It grows in woodlands and hedges – especially where the land is damp and has been undisturbed for a very long time. I have seen it grow on the top of moss growing on old stones in Allandale and this plant was growing in the cleft of ...

Wood-sorrel – Oxalis acetosella: Oxalidaceae

The plant: This plant is a creeper essentially – but also a perennial. It grows in woodlands and hedges – especially where the land is damp and has been undisturbed for a very long time. I have seen it grow on the top of moss growing on old stones in Allandale and this plant was growing in the cleft of ...

PROCUMBENT YELLOW SORREL – Oxalis corniculata: Oxalidaceae

The plant: this is a small plant, creeping and hairy. Usually seen in dry bare areas – this specimen was photographed on a hard, stony track. It is usually a garden escapee – bit it is highly successful in escaping. Those I have seen are never more than about six or seven cm tall. The ...

PROCUMBENT YELLOW SORREL – Oxalis corniculata: Oxalidaceae

The plant: this is a small plant, creeping and hairy. Usually seen in dry bare areas – this specimen was photographed on a hard, stony track. It is usually a garden escapee – bit it is highly successful in escaping. Those I have seen are never more than about six or seven cm tall. The ...

FAIRY FLAX – Linum catharticum: Linaceae

The plant: A very delicate annual plant, growing no more than about ten cm tall. It grows on both dry and damp grasslands, especially where the soil is calcareous.

The flowers: are relatively small and usually about five mm in diameter. They appear at the ends of the stalks in loose clusters. The flowers ...

FAIRY FLAX – Linum catharticum: Linaceae

The plant: A very delicate annual plant, growing no more than about ten cm tall. It grows on both dry and damp grasslands, especially where the soil is calcareous.

The flowers: are relatively small and usually about five mm in diameter. They appear at the ends of the stalks in loose clusters. The flowers ...

Primrose

PRIMROSE – Primula vulgaris: Primulaceae

The plant: a perennial plant of early spring. Grows to about 20cm, although often smaller. Seen in hedgerows, damp grassy areas (if shaded) and also in woodland areas and banksides such as railway cuttings. Grows well in lime-stone areas and is not so happy on acidic soils. Has been declining – possibly due to climate change and some areas drying out, or due to over-picking, or other factors such as grass verge cutting, but the precise cause of the decline is just not certain. Is seen throughout the U.K.  If a primrose is seen look around for cowslips and violets as well. This plant was photographed in Slitt Wood, near Westgate in Weardale, in May.

The flower: Single five-petalled flower to each stem. Pale yellow but with a more deeply coloured central area. About 2.5cm diameter and seen in February to May depending on the part of the country where it grows.

The leaves: Oval and crinkly; about 10cm maximum length, but variable. Grow as a basal rosette.

Names, mythology, uses and folklore:  Named from the Latin Prima Rosa – “First Rose” – but other names include Easter rose, butter rose, May flooer (in Northern Scotland and Shetland). Primrose and cowslip were, prior to the 17th Century, named interchangeably. This confusion of names may be the reason why primrose is called Schusselblume in German – the Key flower – for it is the cowslip which is associated with keys (Grigson). Many legends are associated with it: children eating the flower might see fairies; if a single plant grows near a hen house it is recommended to dance round it three time otherwise egg laying will be compromised; leave a primrose on the doorstep will keep witches out.

Primrose has been used to make a delicate country wine. However large quantities are needed for this purpose and this should no longer be done with the wild plant. Culpepper describes it as being useful in a salve to heal wounds. Legend also has it that the primrose was used by Romans to treat malaria – but much of Italy is too hot and dry to support the plant. Modern herbals seem to ignore the plant – just enjoy looking at it: when you see it spring will certainly have sprung!