You're Making That Up!

Every Picture Tells a Story - or makes a connection...

Sunday, October 25th, 2020

Viper's Bugloss on a coast path near Folkestone

I am frequently being accused of making up the names of wild plants by someone very close to me! I will admit that I am good at making up fake facts which sound convincing - it's the way I tell them! But when it comes to flowers and birds in the countryside, I am usually correct if I do know them. I think I get it from my mother, who used to talk to her plants to encourage them to grow and often came out with the latin names for those in her garden.

I don't usually offer the latin names of species, but I must admit some names, like the Viper's Bugloss above, take a bit of swallowing. Hemp Agrimony, Purple Loosestrife, Bog Asphodel and Grass of Parnassus all sound like weird or exotic names from some fictional creation.

Not quite what you might expect to be called Grass of Parnassus. Found in England, Scotland and Wales.

Many wild plant names have ancient meanings and are associated with their old usage in cooking or medicinal practices. The worts are all suggestions of having a 'worth' in some way: St. John's Wort, Lousewort, Milkwort.

Some of these plants are back in favour in herbal outlets. Whatever their real value, I find their names quite fascinating.

Bog Asphodel in its natural soggy habitat.

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