First though, the mystery photograph from last time:
"I love to lose myself in a mystery, to persue my reason to an O altitudo!"
Sir Thomas Browne
"Fiddle-de-dee, Fiddle-de-dee, the fly shall marry the humble bee."
This plant was growing along the side of the road near the beach, I stopped and took pictures and asked some passersby if they knew what it was. One fellow offered to use a new iPhone app to identify it for me; he took a picture and searched but the app crashed and I was left to identify on my own. The foliage grows about a foot high and the flower heads are one to two feet above that.
"Stout erect stem with tight cluster of whitish to pink rayless flowers that open before leaves emerge. Flower stalks continue to lengthen as large leaves unfold. Leaves palmately divided, lobes coarsely toothed. Flowers in often purplish bell-shaped cup; male, female flowers in separate heads. Grows in bogs, stream edges, roadsides, other wet soils, at low elevations. Var. palmatus (pictured) has large leaves to 16 in. across with lobes deeply cut to base; blooms March, April. Var. nivalis has leaves less than 8 in. across, not deeply divided, with short or no teeth. Blooms July and August at high elevations, often immediately after snowmelt."
Coltsfoot can be eaten although not in large quantities due to alkaloid content: young stems and flowers can be roasted, boiled or stir fried, leaves can be cooked like spinach or leaves can be rolled up, dried and burned to ash then used as a salt substitute.
This mystery solved, Coltsfoot has strikingly pretty flower heads at this time of year.
|Coltsfoot Flower head|
Probably time for a picture with an ahhhhhhhhh factor. So here is a Bunny picture, only question is this Peter or Jack Rabbit?
The plant starts out as a odd cone shaped green shot, then develops rings of green spikes close to the stem which then open up into a grass like plant.
This is either Red or Purple Deadnettle. Now before you get worried about the nettle part of the name, it is called deadnettle because it does not sting. It is superficially similar to a nettle in appearance but is not related and does not sting. It is actually a member of the mint family.
It is a common plant in wild areas and considered a weed in cultivated areas.
"It grows to 5–20 cm (rarely 30 cm) in height. The leaves have fine hairs, are green at the bottom and shade to purplish at the top; they are 2–4 cm long and broad, with a 1–2 cm petiole (leaf stalk), and wavy to serrated margins." (Wikipedia)
The leaves can be eaten in salads or cooked, but do not have much flavour.
"The zygomorphic flowers are bright red-purple, with a top hood-like petal, two lower lip petal lobes and minute fang-like lobes between.They may be produced throughout the year, including mild weather in winter. This allows bees to gather its nectar for food when few other nectar sources are available. It is also a prominent source of pollen for bees in March/April (in UK), when bees need the pollen as protein to build up their nest."
"You would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass."
William Shakespeare, Hamlet