My A-Z posts this year are based on my garden – flowers, animals, the birds and the bees, butterflies - with a bit of poetry thrown in. For some letters I am expecting to cheat somewhat –wishing they were here.
U – Urtica Dioica, Ulex Europaecus, Uvularia
I thought I’d be rash and grasp the nettle and use Latin names for ‘U’
|Stinging Nettles (Urtica Dioica)|
The nettle poem I've found sounds better when read aloud.
The stinging nettle’s fine hairs on the leaves and stems contain irritating chemicals which are released when the plant comes in contact with the skin. These stinging hairs can also be used to reduce pain in that contact reduces levels of inflammatory chemicals in the body, and interferes with the way the body transmits pain signals. The stinging nettle has a long medicinal history and was used as a diuretic and for treating painful joints as early as the Middle Ages.
I may not have been on the downs for Ulex Europaecus but I can vouch for the pain inflicted by their bushes when trying to retrieve my golf ball from an unplayable lie, appropriately enough in Scotland.
Here, on the downs, as a tale re-told
The sprays of the gorse are a-blaze with gold,
As of old, on the sea-washed hills of my boyhood,
Breathing the same sweet scent as of old.
As I usually spend some time in Michigan each year I feel justified in including a North American plant.
Uvularia covers a genus of plants which are commonly called bellworts, bellflowers or merrybells. I must confess to never having seen any.
- Nettles – Vernon Scannell; video reading
- Gorse – Alfred Noyes
- Nettles – Lis Burke – CC BY-SA 2.0
- Gorse – Roger Griffiths – Public Domain
- Uvularia grandiflora – Kurt Stuber; Wikipedia Commons – CC BY-SA 3.0