Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #32 Common Vetch or Tare

Seen here in a large patch near the St David’s entrance, looking northwards towards the area of the Caddy Pond and beyond that the ancient footpath uphill to Northampton University Moulton Park Campus and the Gallagher Sports Field, is the pretty pink-flowered common vetch. It is another member of the pea and bean family, like […]

Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #31 Goat’s Beard or Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon

Also known as meadow salsify, an attractive yellow daisy-like plant with a milky sap and long thin grass-like leaves, it resembles its purple-flowered relative grown by some people in their gardens and allotments for its long edible roots, ornamental flowers and use in herbalism. The flowers are only open in the mornings – by the […]

Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #30 Cocksfoot

Cocks-foot grass, named for a fancied resemblance between the large flower-heads and a chicken’s foot, is an easily identifiable and vigorous plant which can grow into large tussocks reaching up to a metre in height (or 3ft in old money) as shown in the photo here, looking south towards Fulford Drive, with wide leaves well […]

Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #29 Barren Brome

Barren brome is a grass that you’re likely to find spiky bits of its flowers (close-up here) holding fast in your clothes – especially socks – after walking through its ripe flower-heads. It’s cunningly adapted to catching in animal fur which helps it disperse far and wide; when the animal grooms itself to get rid […]

Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #28 Ribwort Plantain

Like the related broad-leaved plantain, which also grows in Bradlaugh Fields, the ribwort plantain is very easily distinguished from other plants by the flowerheads which are long and dense with tiny flowers packed into a tubular shape (as shown in this diagram). After flowering the seed-heads have a knobbly appearance.The leaves have prominent veins, hence […]

Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #26 Cow Parsley

Love it or hate it, by mid-May the central grassland area of Bradlaugh Fields is frothing with a sea of cow parsley up to 4 feet tall, overwhelming most other plants apart from the grasses. From the Independent: Simon Smart, from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Lancaster … made it clear that cow […]

Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #25 Hawthorn

“Ne’er cast a clout til may be out” is often thought to refer to the idea that it’s too proverbially chilly to go out without winter clothing until the time when the hawthorn or may blossom is appearing. What do you think? Be that as it may, if you compare hawthorn‘s flowers with those of […]

Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #24 Broom

Back in February the gorse‘s yellow flowers were already brightening the Fields, now its relation the broom is out in flower by St David’s in Kingsthorpe. Being a member of the pea and bean family, like gorse, it can grow in poor, sandy soil because of the amazing things that go on around its roots […]

Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #23 Lords and Ladies or Cuckoo Pint

This is a woodland flower you probably won’t want to smell (pdf), although it is quite beautiful in its way. It has many English local names, mostly referring to its unusual appearance in flower or fruit, including Jack in the Pulpit, Friar’s Cowl and Bobbins, this last after the bright red and highly toxic fruit […]