Wildflowers – July

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.

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.

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

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.