Tuesday, 12 April 2016

A-Z Challenge 2016 - Wildflowers 'J'

My theme this year is wild flowers. Most of us will be aware of the flowers that grow in our gardens but what surprises me is how few wild flowers that I know.

I pass them every day but rarely look at them. Well this year will be different - even if many of them may fall under the letter 'X' for unknown.

'J' - Jack-go-to-bed-by-noon, Jacob's Ladder

I have never seen either or the two flowers I am going to show under 'J'.

The dandelion-like flowers of the goatsbeard may be found on grasslands and by the roadside. The flowers only open in the morning and close up around midday - and that's why it's also called Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon.

The long silky parachute-like hairs that appears when the flowers reopen help distribute the seed in the wind.

Goatsbeard seed clock
In France the 'J' connection is maintained where the plant is called barbe à Jean - St John's beard - and is picked to celebrate St John's Eve.

The tap root can be cooked and eaten with butter like parsnips. The spindly leaves are also edible and may be used in salads.

Although it is a plant seen in gardens my second flower is one of Britain's rarest wild flowers. Its leaves have up to 25 narrow leaflets arranged in pairs, supposedly looking like the rungs of a ladder. (Unfortunately I cannot show you a photo of these - check the Mongolian stamp at the end.)

Jacob's ladder
According to the Old Testament. Jacob dreamed the angels used the rungs for climbing up to heaven.

Jacob's ladder (Polemonium caeruleum) or Greek Valerian has lavender-coloured or white cup-shaped flowers. Apparently cats are attracted to the scent of the plant.

The ancient Greeks used it as a medicinal herb to treat dysentery, toothache and animal bites, Although it is not used medicinally, it was used in the 19th century as a syphilitic agent and to treat rabies.

  • Goatsbeard (beside the M!! Junction 11 roundabout) - 6 June 2008, ex,uk, by Keith Edkins - CC BY-SA 2.0 generic.
  • Goatsbeard, the clock seedhead (by the A396 in the Exe valley) - 28 June 2006, ex geograph,org,uk, by Penny Mayes - CC BY-SA 2.0 generic
  • Jacob's ;adder - 12 June 2012, by Colin Grice - CC BY-SA 3.0.


Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

Nice shots. Good day to ya, sir.

Jo said...

When I saw Goatsbeard I thought you had goofed until I saw it's nickname. I have heard of Jacob's ladder, what a pretty flower. The stamp is attractive too.

C R Ward said...

What a wonderful theme for spring!

Wendy said...

Jacob's Ladder is lovely. I am partial to that color in flowers.

Alice Gerard said...

I'm a gardener and seeing all of these plants is getting me excited and ready for gardening season to begin. Thank you for brightening up an otherwise grayish day.
Oh, and thank you for your kind comments on my India Ink post.
So much appreciated!
alice (

Sarah Allan said...

Those are gorgeous! I love looking for wild flowers.

Kristin said...

I have seen those silky seed pods but they might have been for a different flower. I have some purple flowers in my yard that I will have to check. I'm pretty sure they don't have the same kind of leaves. Finding Eliza

Yvonne Ventresca said...

Love the flower names and photos!

I'm blogging about productivity for creative people this month. Happy A to Zing!

Debbie D. said...

Interesting blooms. I've heard of Jacob's Ladder but didn't know about its medicinal properties.