Friday, 22 April 2016

A-Z Challenge 2016 - Wildflowers 'S'

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.

'S' - Solomon's Seal, Sow Thistle

I have only seen this wild flower once and it took me some time to identify it.

Solomon's seal
The ribbed, lance-shaped leaves appear alternately up the curved stems. Tubular cream flowers, tipped with green, hang from each leaf node like pearls.

Solomon's seal
I now know that, in autumn, the flowers are followed by black fruit so this year I shall have to look for it then.

Its name refers to the shape of the scars on the leaf stock, said to resemble (apparently you need to use your imagination) the six-pointed star, like the Star of David, of the biblical King Solomon.

I discovered the plant alongside a disused farm road but apparently it is a woodland plant.

Much less impressive and what I've always regarded as a weed is the -

Sow thistle
The smooth sow thistle hardly differs from the prickly variety other than its foliage is darker, less glossy and has less prickly edges.

When its stems are broken it exudes a thick white sap, Pigs that eat it are said to have an increased milk flow after giving birth - hence its 'sow' name.

I've never tried it but when boiled and smothered it tastes like spinach. You may also eat it raw in salads - not that I would be brave enough.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob - I'm glad you showed the Solomon's Seal flower droplets - they're lovely ... and the Sow Thistle flower is interesting with its two colours ... I'm sure some of these leaves you've been showing would make a good veggie and a salad ... I'd try ... but I'd need to be with the right friends!

Cheers Hilary

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

Flower, weed, they're all Mother's gifts :)

Jo said...

I'd try it cooked first I think though. I ate beetroot greens the other day, never ate them in the UK, and they too taste a bit like spinach. Love the Solomon's Seal, very pretty flowers.

Bish Denham said...

Solomon's Seal, what a pretty plant/flower! I've never seen anything like it.

cleemckenzie said...

I've just started a landscaping project and have been doing a lot of research into the native flowers and plants of our area. I want to plant so the garden looks good, but doesn't require much water. It has been a fascinating project because I've found that many of the plants I've been pulling are--you guessed it--the very natives I need.

Lovely theme. I'm still trying to stop in at new blogs before this atoz madness ends. Glad I landed here today.

Karen S. said...

Seems so often at least for me that I see so many things that I have no idea what they're called but I know like these photos here, they are always grabbing my attention!