Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Less usual spring flowers

Spring is still running late, though the day before yesterday I saw the first blue on some bluebell buds.

Two of the rather less common spring flowers are the marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) and the wood dog-violet (Viola reichenbachiana).

20100413 Swallotail Hill Farm 001

Marsh marigolds seemed much commoner when I was a child and I know only a few places locally where they still grow.  Their preferred habitat is very wet meadows and most have these have been drained.  Even when they are re-flooded, the Caltha does not seem to return.

20100413 Viola reichenbachiana

The violet is holding its own rather better, especially in well-lit areas of clay woodland.  It flowers slightly earlier than common dog-violet (Viola riviniana) which grows in similar places and the violet shade of the narrow flowers has rather more red in it than riviniana.

The scientific name of the violet pays homage to Ludwig Reichenbach, a 19th century German botanist.

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