Wednesday, 27 April 2016

A-Z Challenge 2016 - Wildflowers 'W'

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 of the 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.

'W' - Woodbine, White Deadnettle

For me the word woodbine has always been synonymous with the wartime cigarettes. I never expected it to give me a flower for the letter 'W'.

Woodbine in the early spring
It's a climbing plant that may be seen in hedgerows and in woods. The stems turn woody and silvery-grey as they mature.

The flowers soon become more pronounced with a promise of things to come.

Woodbine flower shaping up
Eventually flowers up to 5 inches long hang in clusters; creamy, white flowers turn cream and may be flushed with purple. At dusk their strong flowers attract moths; during the day they are pollinated by bees.

Of course you may know it by another name - also associated with bees - it's Honeysuckle to me.

It should be no surprise therefore to find that, if you pluck one of the flowers, you can suck nectar from the narrow end.

The honeysuckle (woodbine) has glossy scarlet berries in the autumn.

Honeysuckle outside our bedroom window

Another flower from which it is possible to suck nectar is one that I tasted regularly as a child.

White deadnettle
You would need to be careful here as it is growing among the stinging variety. Better to find one that is growing on its own.

White deadnettle
Its white flowers make it easy to find and identify at roadsides, in hedges, in woodlands and on waste ground.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob - honeysuckle is just wonderful ... I have to say I hadn't realised it was called Woodbine. I've never thought about white deadnettle as having nectar for humans to access ..

I think I'll leave them for the bees - cheers Hilary

Bish Denham said...

As I was looking at the pictures I was thinking... that looks just like the honeysuckle we have growing in our yard!

Jo said...

Love Honeysuckle but didn't know it was also called Woodbine. Were the the cigarettes only available during the war? I thought they were around much longer. Think my mother smoked them at one time. I remember sucking nectar out of flowers but don't remember which ones.

Wendy said...

I love the fragrance of honeysuckle. It is unmistakable. As kids we used to pluck the flower and suck the end. I'd be afraid to do that today.

Sharon Himsl said...

Oh I guessed right,thinking as I looked at your photos isn't that honeysuckle? A favorite of mine. Forgot you could suck the nectar.