Wildflowers – July

Green

Broad Leaved Pondweed

Broad leaved Pondweed

The commonest pondweed, leaves elliptical to oval.

It flowers July to September. This was found in the large pond at Spyhill.

Orange

Montbretia

Montbretia

This well-known garden escape was originally created in France but is now naturalised widely across the country although favouring Western districts. It is a member of the Iris family and this is apparent in the strap-like leaves.

The bright reddish-orange flowers appear in July. This specimen was found growing wild halfway up Shay Lane in Ashton.

Pink

Hemp Agrimony

Hemp Agrimony

A tall perennial to 1.5m with stems often reddish. Its flowers are small in dense trusses. It prefers damp woods, marshes or by fresh water but can sometimes be found in dryer places.

Used since ancient times as a gentle laxative and as an eye treatment, as well as for coughs and colds etc. It was widely used in the Middle Ages as a wound treatment. Research has suggested that it may have immune boosting properties.

Flowers July to September. This was growing by a lake near Brines Brow.

Purple

Great Willowherb

Great Willowherb

This is the tallest (to 1.8m) and largest flowered of the willowherb family. It has pretty purple-pink flowers with distinctive, white four-lobed stigmas. Its leaves are lanceolate to oblong and are unstalked. The leaves and stem are covered with soft hairs hence its Latin name of Epilobium hirsutum. Has the popular name Codlins and Cream. Codlin is an old country name for cooking apples, so this name may have arisen from the rosy pink flowers with their creamy centres. Other common names, such as ‘Apple-pie’ and ‘Cherry-pie’ might have been coined for similar reasons.

Flowers July to September. The example shown was seen growing in Well Lane, Mouldsworth.

Lesser Burdock

Lesser Burdock

Burdocks are well-branched biennials growing up to 2m. The flowers are purple in brush-like heads whose bracts end in hooked bristles. The leaves are large and broad with hollow stalks. There are many intermediates and occasional hybrids.

Burdock is one of the foremost detoxifying herbs in both Chinese and Western herbal medicine. The dried root of one year old plants is the official herb, but the leaves and fruits can also be used to treat conditions caused by an “overload” of toxins, such as throat and other infections, boils, rashes and other skin problems. It is used in the treatment of herpes, eczema, acne, impetigo, ringworm, boils, bites etc.

This was photographed in July. This photograph was taken on the footpath through Peel Hall.

Water Mint

Water Mint

Much the commonest waterside mint, short/medium usually downy to 90cms.Water mint grows in damp places and has aromaticleaves.

The plants have topical medicinal properties as a balm for sore muscles and an aid for cleaning wounds. The oils in the leaves add flavour to cooking and baking and leaves add a bright zing to salads.

It flowers July to September. Found on the edge of the lake at Spy Hill.

White

Common Hemp-Nettle

Common Hemp-Nettle

This is a coarsely hairy annual that grows to 1m. Flowers are normally pink-purple but occasionally white as in the example shown (see photo). Leaves are broad lanceolate, toothed and nettle-like. Likes damp woodland, stream banks and disturbed ground.

The leaves, stems and flowers are used to make a medicinal tea which is taken for the relief of coughs and bronchitis.

Flowers July to September. This plant was seen growing in the initially narrow part of the footpath that runs between Moss Lane and Sugar Lane in the Mouldsworth/Manley area.

Marsh Helloborine

Marsh Helloborine

A beautiful wildflower that can grow up to 45cms. It typically grows in fens, marshes, and dune slacks.

Flowers July to August.

The below rather short example appeared expectantly growing wild in a lawn at Peel Hall Park. The lawn is very mossy and has lots of fungi growing in it.

Potato

Potato

The Potato needs little introduction and is a very common crop in Cheshire. This plant is a frequent relic of cultivation near arable field with white or pale purple Nightshade-like flowers.

Flowers appear from late June into September with green or purplish berries that are rarely seen in the cultivated crop.

In this instance it was found growing deep in the hedgerow towards the bottom of Shay Lane.

Wild Angelica

Wild Angelica

Wild Angelica is a common and robust plant to 2.5m. As a member of the carrot family, it displays large, umbrella-like clusters of white often purple-tinged flowers which are attractive to a range of insects. The umbels of Wild Angelica flowers are robust and rounded, and tinged with red. Its purple stems are hollow, and its lower leaves are divided It favours damp meadows, ditches and wet woodlands.

The flowers smell like the garden variety of Angelica which is used to make sweet cake decorations. It may be used for many complaints from lung and chest diseases to rheumatism and corns – however, garden angelica is often the preferred plant of choice .There are specifically documented uses for wild angelica in Irish folk medicine. For example, chewing the roots of the plant before breakfast was said to cure heart palpitations and promote urination.

It flowers between July and September. Plentiful on the edge of the lake at Spy Hill.

Wood Sage

Wood Sage

This is a downy perennial which grows to 60cms. Flowers (7 – 9mm) are pale greenish-yellow with prominent brownish stamens. Leaves are sage-green, pointed, oval and shallow toothed. Likes light shade and acid soils.

Unlike other sages, Wood Sage has very little scent, so has little value as an herb in cooking.

Flowers July to September.

This specimen seen in the hedgerow on Well Lane, Mouldsworth.

Yellow

Corn Sow-thistle

Corn Sow-thistle

The Corn Sow-thistle is the third common sow-thistle to be found locally. It is a tall plant to 1.5m with deep yellow large and showy flowers. The olive green bracts are covered in sticky yellow hairs and the leaves lanceolate and pinnately lobed with round auricles clasping the stem. Grows in disturbed and bare ground and was once a frequent weed of arable crops.

It flowers from July to September. The plant shown here was found growing in Shay Lane.

Mugwort

Mugwort

A tall slightly aromatic perennial to 1.5m. It is mostly hairless above and silvery downy below. The flowers are brown tinged yellow or purple. It favours waysides, rough and waste ground. It is named for its supposed ability to repel midges. Mugwort is also known as St John’s Plant.

It was believed to have magical powers and was used as a talisman against tiredness, diseases and evil spirits. St John the Baptist was said to have worn a girdle of mugwort when he went into the wilderness. It was used to flavour beer before the common use of hops and latterly for flavouring absinthe and vermouth for its aromatic and somewhat bitter taste and smell. Medicinally it was used for stomach upsets and also for soothing hysteria, nerves fevers and rheumatism. Pregnant women should avoid it as it affects the uterus.

It flowers July to September.

This example was found growing by the bridge over Ashton Brook at the bottom of Gongar Lane.

Perforate St John’s Wort

Perforate St. John’s Wort

Perforate St John’s Wort is a yellow flowering perennial distinguished by two raised lines down the stem and the many translucent dots of its leaves which almost clasp the stem. The golden yellow flowers have distinct black dots and streaks which are best seen in the unopened buds. The plants are perennial herbs with a deep tap root that spread through underground rhizomes as well as seeds.  They can grow up to 3 feet high, but they’re often smaller, especially in places along roadsides that see periodic mowing.  

Perforate St John’s Wort is a flowering plant used in alternative medicine as a treatment for depression, anxiety and insomnia. The effectiveness is debatable as it may cause drug interactions.

Flowering July to September. They are prolific on a very sandy bank at Spy Hill Lodge but can also be seen in similar habitats growing in the Delamere forest.

Yellow Loosestrife

Yellow Loosestrife

Loosestrifes are perennials with yellow flowers and undivided, almost stalkless leaves.  The species, known in Latin as Lysimachia, is named after a Greek King of Sicily. The yellow loosestrife is a handsome plant that exhibits a vivid contrast between its bright cadmium-yellow flowers and its cobalt-green leaves. It grows to 1.5m. It prefers habitats that are damp such as marshes and ditches or land near rivers and lakes.

In the distant past loosestrife plants were used to get rid of infestations of flies in houses. The plants were dried and then burned indoors, and toxins in the smoke drove out the flies.

Flowers July to August.

This specimen was seen growing on the grass verge in Smithy Lane, Mouldsworth.