This Green Alkanet which is also known as Evergreen Bugloss, has brilliant blue flowers which resemble forget-me-nots, and retains its green leaves through the winter. It grows to 90 cms. It likes shade and damp.
The flowers are edible.
It flowers March to July.
The flower pictured was found near the hedgerow along Manley Lane to the north-west of Mouldsworth and close to the old post office/shop. Can also be seen as you turn down from Peel Hall Lane towards the Scout Hut in Ashton.
This tiny more or less hairy annual has delightful blue flowers with palmately lobed leaves. It is a weed of disturbed grown and grows throughout Ashton and Mouldsworth.
This Speedwell flowers between March and August
This example was seen in Shay Lane.
A rough downy perennial with unbranched stems to 30cm. The flowers are reddish-pink often turning blue, bell shaped to 11mm in clusters with many glandular hairs. The leaves are large pointed oval, long stalked and pale spotted. It grows in woodland, on hedge banks and road verges.
Also known as Mary’s Tears or Our Lady’s Milk Drops, it has been used since the Middle Ages to treat coughs and diseases of the chest, because it was believed that plants that resemble any body part could be used to treat illnesses in those parts.
Lungwort flowers from March to May In Ashton it grows in Dunns Lane but could be found throughout.
A spiny bush with spreading branches to 1.5m. Leaves 3 lobed blunt-toothed. Flowers drooping green sometimes red tinged. Grows in woods, scrub, hedges, often bird sown, widespread.
Grown for its culinary purposes.
Flowers late March to May.
This was seen across the junction at the top of Grange Road.
Ivy-Leaved Speedwell ssp. Lucurum
A more or less prostrate hairy annual to 50cm. Flowers lilac in this case to 2mm. A weed of disturbed ground.
Flowers March to August. The plant was growing on the bank past the house just up from the railway bridge in Mouldsworth.
Medium tall perennial to 1m. The flowers are bright rosy pink and are quite distinctive. It likes rich soil and prefers light shade in woods and hedge banks. Also occurs in the open on mountains and sea cliffs.
Flowers March to November. The below was seen on the roadside bank down past the Ashton Village Hall.
Ground Ivy is an aromatic, perennial evergreen creeper of the mint family. It has round to reniform (kidney or fan shaped), opposed leaves about 1 inch in diameter, on long petioles attached to square stems which root at the nodes. The plant spreads either by stolon or seed, making it exceptionally difficult to eradicate.
It is commonly known as ground-ivy, gill-over-the-ground, creeping charlie, alehoof, tunhoof, catsfoot, field balm and run-away-robin.
It is used as a salad green in many countries. European settlers carried it around the world, and it has become a well-established introduced and naturalised plant in a wide variety of localities.
Flowers March to June. This example was seen in Old Lane.
The commonest wild pansy, annual, with stems to 40cms. It is also known as Heartease. A plant of bare ground and cultivated fields.
Pansy family plants have been used as love charm hence other names such as love lies bleeding, cuddle me, kiss-her-in-the-buttery. Also the name Heartease may have arisen because of its medicinal reputation as a cordial for the heart. It has also been taken both internally and externally.
Flowers March to July. This was growing at the edge of a maize field beside Andrews Wood.
One of the commonest small weeds, usually just a few cms in size but can grow up to 30cms. Cardamine hirsuta, commonly called hairy bittercress, is an annual or biennial member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae). It is common in moist areas around the world. It is automatically self-pollinated.
Seed is shed in May and June and sometimes into the autumn. There are around 20 seeds per seedpod. The average seed number per plant is 600 but a large plant may yield several thousand seeds. It is a common weed of gardens, greenhouses’, paths, railways and waste ground. It is a particular problem in container raised plants.
The leaves are edible as a bitter herb and can be eaten from October onwards. They are said to be delicious in sandwiches and with cheese or added to soups.
It is found in flower all through the year but mainly from March to August This was found in a border at Spy Hill but is likely to be found in most gardens and many other bare places.
The wood anemone appears in early spring in deciduous woods, on hedge banks and near streams. The solitary white flowers have delicate grey veins and a rosette of yellow anthers. Leaves are deeply lobed.
Considered a lucky charm by the Romans the plant is named after Anemos, the Greek wind god – hence the flower’s other common name of ‘windflower’.
Flowers March to May.
This plant was seen growing at the edge of the footpath that connects Old Lane and Stable Lane and close to Ashton brook. It can also be seen on the verge lower down Smithy Lane near and opposite the farm entrance.
Common Dog Violet
Generally the most common violet and identified by its pointed sepals with a stout pale and often creamy notched spur. The flower stems grow to 4cm with blue-violet flowers with the petals often overlapping. Leaves are heart shaped, pointed at the tip and as broad as they are long. It grows in woods, hedgerows and roadsides.
This violet flowers from March to May and on some years also from July to September. This specimen was growing on the footpath between West End and Pentre Close but it can be found throughout.
Wood Dog Violet
The Wood Dog violet is a low growing woodland plant with violet flowers and heart-shaped leaves. It is easily confused with the Common Dog violet. A distinguishing feature of the Wood Dog Violet is its flower spur which is a darker violet than the petals. It is often referred to as the Early Dog violet.
Flowers March to May. The photograph was taken on the Baker Way footpath close to Brine’s Brow.
A stiffly thorny shrub to 4m, suckering to form impenetrable thickets. The flowers appear before the leaves and the previous year’s new wood is black. Often found growing in hedgerows, woods and scrub.
Its fruits are known as Sloes, a diminutive plum, which is tongue-numbingly tart. They are used to provide the flavouring in Sloe gin.
Flowers March to May. The photograph was taken half way up just up from Ashton Brook to the railway bridge.
Few Flowered Garlic
Short to 40cm. Flowers white to creamy, 1-5 in a head mainly of bulbils. Often naturalised in plantations carpetting the ground. The leaves when crushed smell of onion / garlic.
Flowers March to June.
Photographed on a shady hedge bank towards the top of Grange Road.
A small erect hairy annual to 30cm but usually much shorter. It has cylindrical seed pods distinguishing it from Shepherd’s Purse. A common weed of bare and disturbed ground, walls and gravel.
Has recently become the experimental botanist’s equivalent to the fruit-fly as it has a minimum set of chromosomes.
Flowers March to October. This was seen at Peel Hall Park but common throughout the area.
Tall tree to 30m with smooth shiny reddish-brown bark. The flowers are white and often slightly notched. Leaves often coppery when young, turning pink or red in autumn. Grows in woods and hedges.
The fruit is usually red, but can be black or yellow and can be sweet or tart.
Flowers late March to May, ‘wearing white for Easter-tide’.
This was seen on a small group of young cherries on the field footpath from Peel Hall.
This beautiful spring flower grows to 12cm with solitary flowers pale yellow with a deeper yellow eye and honey-Guides growing on long shaggy stalks. The leaves are lanceolate, crinkly and taper towards the base.
There are two distinct variations, the pin-eyed where the stigma is above the anthers, and the thrum-eyed with the stigma below the anthers.
Both flowers and leaves are edible, the flavour ranging between mild lettuce and more bitter salad greens. The leaves can be cooked in soup but preferably with other plants because they are sometimes a little strong. The leaves can also be used for tea, and the young flowers can be made into primrose wine.
Flowers March to May.
The plant is found widely in woods, scrub, hedgerows and sea cliffs and also on mountains. This pin-eyed example was found growing on Grange Road.
This is our only native daffodil and is up to 35 cm tall, small compared to the garden varieties. The flowers are yellow with the trumpet-like central corona being a darker yellow.
The Wild Daffodil got its scientific name, Narcissus, from an Ancient Greek myth. Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water, so much so that he fell in and drowned. The nodding head of the Wild Daffodil represents the act of Narcissus bending over the water. Its habitats are woods and damp grassland. The wild daffodil was once abundant but its numbers declined during the 19th century as a result of habitat loss. The plants are toxic.
Flowers March to April. This pair was seen growing in the ancient woodland adjacent to Brine’s Brow Lane.