When walking around the lake on campus at this time of year, chances are you will see a distinctive seed head amongst the foliage on the edge of the water. This belongs to one of the two species of … Continue reading
Broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius), a widely-distributed member of the Polygonaceae, occurs in the grasslands and The Wilderness area of campus. Alternative names include bitter dock, due to the leaf taste, and butter dock, as it was formerly used to … Continue reading
Hairy Sedge (Carex hirta) is a member of the diverse Monocotyledon Cyperaceae or sedge family. This family of rhizomatous or tufted perennial plants can be distinguished from grasses or rushes by the distinct triangular shaped stem. This one, the hairy sedge is common throughout … Continue reading
Geranium robertianum L. – more commonly known as Herb-Robert – is a small, often red, plant with deep pink flowers that is common throughout the British Isles and on Whiteknights campus. The genus Geranium is named after the Greek ‘geranos’, which means … Continue reading
On my journey through campus just after Friends’ Bridge I happened across several clumps of the striking herb Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) in the Boraginaceae family. With around 2000 species in this family the most well known are the lovely Forget-me-not (Myosotis), Borage … Continue reading
Greek methodology tells that the aged and merry God of the woodlands Silenus gave his name to the Red campion, Silene dioica, which blooms on campus in the wilderness and in shaded areas by the lower lake. This attractive … Continue reading
Soft Rush (Juncus effusus) and Hard Rush (Juncus inflexus) are perennial rushes that grow in damp grassland, marshes and ditches and so can be found near Whightknights Lake. Unlike J. inflexus, J. effusus avoids base rich soils but can grow in … Continue reading
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Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) flowers June – November so its blooms still brighten campus grasslands. Typically of the Asteraceae, Yarrow `flowers’ are clusters of tube-florets surrounded by 5 ray-florets masquerading as petals. These capitula gather further into dense heads, or corymbs, … Continue reading
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Galium aparine, with its covering of tiny hooked hairs is much more frequently referred to as Cleavers, Stickyweed, Goosegrass, Stickywilly, Hedge Burs and Catchweed. An herbaceous annual plant, it thrives in many environments such as field margins, scrub, hedgebanks, gardens and arable … Continue reading
This non-native member of the Ericaceae family has been planted by some able Reading groundsperson only a few paces from my front door at Sherfield Hall. Although Stace’s Flora (2010) notes its staus as ’RRR’, (i.e. rare in Britain), the native distribution is … Continue reading