Tuesday, 19 April 2016

A-Z Challenge - Wildflowers 'P'

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.

'P' - Poppy, Periwinkle

I guess everyone is familiar with the red Common (or Field) poppy if only from its association with Remembrance Day, for which it has been a symbol since 1921.

Common (Field Poppy) in a field of oil seed rape
It occurs typically in cornfields, grass verges and where ground has been disturbed as it did on the battlefields at Flanders in WWI.

Its seeds have been found in Egyptian grain stores dating back to 2500 BC. It was sacred to the Romans for the corn goddess Ceres. Picking the flowers was once believed to induce thunderstorms.

Petals from the poppy were once used to make syrup; seeds yielded two grades of oil - one, edible, for cooking and a coarse type used by artists in mixing paints.

Poppies of a different colour grow besides an unused track close to the village where I live. 

Yellow Poppy poking above a bramble leaf

I now know that if I am to identify what they are I need to pay attention to more than just the flowers.

Orange Poppy
I know that Welsh poppies are yellow and Californian poppies orange bu I need to take a closer look at these this year as they may just be escaped cultivars.

My next flower shares its name with a seashore snail but other than that there is no connection.

There are two types of the bluish-violet flower. The lesser periwinkle has flowers 1" across, the greater 2" across. The long sprawling stems of the lesser periwinkle weave themselves together to form thick mats; on the greater the stems root wherever they touch the ground and spread rapidly that way.

Periwinkle in a birch wood
I have yet to decide which type are the ones I have photographed.

  • Common Poppy in field of oil seed rape, Fifield Bavant Common - 11 June 2009, ex by Trish Steel - CC BY-SA 2.0


Deepti Agarwal said...

Both Poppy and Periwinkle adorns my garden every year.. Love these flowers.. though i was never aware that poppy came in ornage and yellow colours too .. Thanks for the lovely pics..

Anonymous said...

Well, I didn't know that about periwinkles. We have two sorts in our garden, one with green leaves and one with variegated leaves.
I'd say both your poppies are welsh poppies. Californian ones are mostly orange, but I have grown a pink one from a packet of seeds. The buds and seed heads of the Welsh and Californian poppies are quite different from each other.
And my plant for today is a Welsh poppy!

@suesconsideredt from Sue’s Trifles
and Sue’s words and pictures

Anonymous said...

Poppies! There so pretty to look at, even the orange and yellow ones (which jarred me a bit). Also I love saying periwinkle. Interesting that it shares a name w/ a snail.

Jo said...

Poppies are always so colourful. I have a friend who says poppies are her favourite flower. Don't think I have ever seen a periwinkle growing although I am familiar with the flower.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob - I love our fields when the poppies ramble through our ripening grains ... they are just such a wonderful sight ...

Periwinkles are fun too - but slightly more invasive ...

Lovely photos - cheers Hilary

Bish Denham said...

The red poppies can take over in the spring, but are so beautiful! Are these periwinkles also known as vinca major and minor? They look very similar to ones we have here.

Bob Scotney said...

Bish - yes their Latin names are vinca major and minor.

Ericka @ A Quiet Girl's Musings... said...

I automatically associate poppies with the Daughter's of the American Revolution. I received some award from the DAR in high school and during the ceremony, they pinned a red poppy on my lapel. I like the vivid redness of the red variety. Have a good one!

Joanne said...

"In Flanders Field the poppies grow. Between the crosses row on row..."
I was trying to think of that poem today while we were driving down to Pennsylvania.
One of the places we want to visit on our vacation is Gettysburg so the poem is fitting.
So there's solemn poppies and then there's the Wicked Witch's "Poppies... Poppies..."
Pretty either way.