Meadows & Pastures

KNAUTIA  ARVENSIS


'Field Scabious' (KNAUTIA ARVENSIS) - bluish-lilac flowers in long-stalked flat heads; Druce found this (under the name SCABIOSA ARVENSIS) as common and generally distributed in cultivated fields and hedgebanks but partial to sandy soils in  Buckinghamshire a century ago; nowadays it is common at roadsides (where this was photographed) and chalk grassland in Buckinghamshire (Maycock & Woods)

Involucral bracts ovate-lanceolate, hairy, in 2 rows, shorter than flowers

Flower-head in bud

Stem-leaves usually deeply pinnatifid with an elliptical terminal segment and linear-oblong lateral segments

Undersides of leaves both upper and lower surfaces +/- hairy

Some of the uppermost leaves usually +/- entire

Basal leaves in an overwintering rosette from the base of the old flowering stem, short-stalked, commonly simple, sometimes lyrate-pinnatifid, entire or crenate toothed

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CIRSIUM  VULGARE


'Spear Thistle' (CIRSIUM VULGARE)

Druce found this (under the name CIRSIUM LANCEOLATUM) very common and generally distributed in waysides, hedges, pastures, newly cleared or open woods in Buckinghamshire a century ago; nowadays it is very common in rank grassland, waste places & roadsides in the county (Maycock & Woods)

Heads 3-5 x 2-4cm, ovoid-oblong, solitary or 2-3 in a cluster, short-stalked; florets pale red-purple

Involucre slightly cottony, its bracts green, lanceolate-acuminate with long neither ciliate nor dilated point recurved and spine-tipped in the outer, erect and scarious in the inner bracts

Young flower-head

Note spine-tipped bracts

Upper surface of leaf

Lower surface of leaf - basal leaves 15-30cm., obovate-lanceolate in outline narrowed into a short stalk-like base, +/- deeply pinnatifid and undulate with segments usually 2-lobed, the upper lobe toothed near the base, the lower entire, lobes and teeth tipped with long stout spines

stems leaves similar to basal leaves but sessile and decurrent, with a long narrow terminal segment; all prickly-hairy above, rough or cottony beneath

Lower stem

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PIMPINELLA  SAXIFRAGA


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TRAGOPOGON  PRATENSIS

'Goat's-Beard' or 'Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon' (TRAGOPOGON  PRATENSIS); Druce found this to be not uncommon and widely distributed in meadows, waysides and railway banks, preferring sunny places  in Buckinghamshire a century ago 

Involucre of 8 or more equal lanceolate-acuminate bracts

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PLANTAGO  LANCEOLATA

'Ribwort Plantain' (PLANTAGO  LANCEOLATA)


I had not appreciated how beautiful the spikes of plantains were - the anthers are lilac or white, supposedly with purple filaments but that is not the case above

Prominent stamens at top of inflorescence; Druce, who knew this as 'Rib-grass Plantain', found it ubiquitous in pastures by roadsides, in waste and cultivated ground in Buckinghamshire a century ago.  Pleasing that such a common plant is considerably more interesting and attractive than I had realised.  Just goes to show one should ALWAYS look more closely.

I must admit to having never examined the flowers of plantains closely using a hand-lens, so was surprised to find the corolla lobes ovate, acute, with a prominent brown midrib; it is refreshing to observe features of plants missed or should I say "dismissed" before as one tends to view this genus as rather 'weedy' with unattractive flowers, whereas close-up, they are far from that.  The wonders that digital photography allows us to enjoy m- along with getting out into the field at the right time of year





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LOTUS  CORNICULATUS

'Bird'sfoot-trefoil' or 'Bacon and Eggs' (LOTUS CORNICULATUS)

Druce found this abundantly and generally distributed in pastures, sunny banks, roadsides, chalk downs and commons in Buckinghamshire a century ago

Yellow flowers, shortly pedicelled; heads 2-6-flowered

Flowers often tipped or streaked with red

Calyx-teeth triangular, erect in bud, two upper with an obtuse sinus

 Camping amongst Bird'sfoot trefoil or Eggs-and-Bacon 

 Yellow flowers often streaked or tipped with red

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VICIA  SEPIUM

'Bush Vetch' (VICIA SEPIUM)

Druce found this rather common and widely distributed in hedges and wooded places in Buckinghamshire a century ago with it being very common on wood-borders on the chalk (which is where I found this specimen at Little Kimble)

Flowers pale purple

Calyx darker, teeth unequal

Stipules half-arrow-shaped; leaflets 5-9 pairs, mucronate

This vetch grew amongst lush vegetation, whereas the above form was beside a recently built fence along a footpath. My first thought was that it might be a different species but it does seem to come within VICIA  SEPIUM, though just goes to show how much variation can exist

It is certainly 'hairer' and whilst the full 'Flora of the British Isles' gives flower colour as pale purple, Phillips in 'Wild Flowers of Britain says purple to blue

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VICIA  HIRSUTA

'Hairy  Tare' (VICIA  HIRSUTA)

Druce recorded this as locally common and widely distributed in Buckinghamshire a century ago in hedges, bushy places, sandy fields, railway banks, preferring sunny, dry places; racemes 1-9-flowered; flowers dirty white or purplish only 4-5mmm

4-8 (sometimes up to 10) small (5-12mm) alternate, linear-oblong leaflets; tendrils usually branched; stipules often 4-lobed

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VICIA  SATIVA

'Common Vetch' (VICIA  SATIVA)

Druce found this to be rather common and generally distributed but rarely permanent in cultivated fields, field-sides and waste places in Buckinghamshire a century ago; he did not consider it necessary to give localities since the plant was frequent, being here to-day and gone tomorrow and rarely succeeded in establishing itself; flowers solitary or in pairs, purple; calyx teeth sub-equal

Stipules half-arrow-shaped, toothed or entire, often with a DISTINCTIVE dark blotch

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VERONICA  CHAMAEDRYS

'Germander Speedwell' also known as 'Cuckoo Eye', 'Bird's Eye' and 'Cat's Eye'                     (VERONICA CHAMAEDRYS)

Druce found this abundant and generally distributed in hedgebanks and wood borders, preferring shelter but with free sun exposure on porous soils in Buckinghamshire a century ago; racemes, long-stalked, lax from the axils of leaves; corolla deep bright blue with white eye

Calyx-lobes +/- lanceolate, hairy

Stems prostrate and rooting at nodes, ascending above, with long white hairs in two lines on opposite sides

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HYPOCHAERIS  RADICATA

'Cat's Ear' (HYPOCHAERIS  RADICATA)

Florets bright yellow, exceeding the involucre; the ligules about 4 times as long as borad bracts lanceolate-acuminate, dull green, bristly on the midrib

Also known as 'Long-rooted Hawkweed' in Druce's day - he found this very common and generally distributed in pastures, heaths, waste places; especially abundant on gravels and sands

Leaves +/- broadly oblong-lanceolate, narrowed gradually into broad stalk-like base, sinuate-toothed to sinuate-pinnatifid, usually hispid with simple hairs

Underside of leaves


Leaves in basal rosette

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RUMEX  ACETOSA

'Sorrel' (RUMEX ACETOSA)

Druce found this to be very frequent in pastures, meadows and woods, especially in Thames meadows and sometimes giving fine effects of colour in Buckinghamshire a century ago; inflorescence up to 40cm, leafless or nearly so; flowers can be quite colourful

Underside of oblong-lanceolate, on this occasion subacute (but can be obtuse) hastate (just visible) stem leaf, which is subsessile +/- clasping  stem

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SALVIA  VERBENACEA

'Wild Clary' (SALVIA  VERBENACEA) - note long white hairs on calyces

Flowers violet-blue, usually small, cleistogamous and with the corolla shorter than the calyx but sometimes open and up to 1.5cm

Stem-leaves usually in 2-3 pairs, sessile

Underside of leaf; margins very variable from crenate-serrate to sinuate


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ORNITHOGALUM  UMBELLATUM

I spotted this on a grassy bank outside of Goring Station whilst waiting to be met and driven to a lecture to GREENFINGERS GARDEN CLUB.  It was a new species for me but I had in mind that this member of the Lily family might be an ORNITHOGALUM and so it proved to be.

'Star of Bethlehem' (ORNITHOGALUM  UMBELLATUM* - though some floras list it as O.ANGUSTIFOLIUM); it is nowadays scarce in Buckinghamshire on roadsides and railway banks; Druce considered it to be native in Berkshire and Oxon and recorded in all bordering counties, local and rare in meadows and pastures.

Perianth segments usually white marked with green; distinguished from other members of the genus found in the UK by its corymbose inflorescense
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DAUCUS  CAROTA

'Wild Carrot' (DAUCUS CAROTA) - common in calcareous grassland and roadsides

Note the spiny fruits


Prominent dark green linear segments of bracts

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ULEX  EUROPAEUS

'Gorse' (ULEX  EUROPAEUS) photographed at Iver Heath Fields, Buckinghamshire in June

Druce found this widely distributed and locally common on heaths and dry pastures but avoiding the cold, stiff clays and the chalk downs of Buckinghamshire a century ago; at one time was an important plant - in 1623 the cottagers of Little Horwood petitioned Sir Edmund Verney to intervene for them with the Duke of Buckingham, in regard to their ancient tight to cut and fetch furze (as it was also known) off the common land

This has young pods which are c. 15mm, bursting in summer, turning black, with grey or brown hairs

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CENTAUREA  NIGRA

'Lesser Knapweed' (CENTAUREA  NIGRA) in Swan Meadow, Iver, Buckinghamshire

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POTENTILLA  ANSERINA

'Silverweed' (POTENTILLA  ANSERINA)

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HELIANTHEMUM  CHAMAECISTUS

 Chris Chadwell photographing common rock rose on a calcareous meadow (Photo: Matthew Chadwell) 
 
 
Bright yellow flowers - varieties are commonly grown on rockeries
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THYMUS

Wild Thyme

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CHRYSANTHEMUM  LEUCANTHEMUM

Ox-eye Diasy, Moon-Daisy or Marguerite

Showy large white ray florets

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SUCCISA  PRATENSIS

Devil's-bit Scabious

Mauve to dark blue-purple flowers; rootstock ending abruptly below as though bitten off

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CIRSIUM ACAULON

Stemless Thistle - bright red-purple flower-heads

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SCABIOSA  COLUMBARIA

Chris photographing Small Scabious (Photo: Matthew Chadwell)

Bluish-lilac flowers

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CAMPANULA  GLOMERATA

Clustered Bellflower - with blue-purple flowers; lobes of petals nearly as long as tube

Harebell - pretty blue broadly campanulate flowers

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TRIFOLIUM  PRATENSE

Red Clover (TRIFOLIUM PRATENSE) - pink-purple flowers in terminal globose heads becoming ovoid

Druce found this common throughout Buckinghamshire a century ago, except in arable fields, on chalk downs or heaths

Heads subtended by a pair of short-petioled leaves

Stipules ovate the oblong

Free portion of stipules triangular with setaceous point

Typically pink-purple flowers are sometimes whitish

Common on road-sides; very variable; the cultivated form var. sativum usually has entire leaflets, with fistular stems, is cultivated for hay and often naturalises


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