Byng Brook Orchard ID - part 1
This week's blog is a summary of what I've learned about some of the plants identified in the orchard so far. Hopefully the first instalment of a few!
Firstly, let's discuss how you identify plants that you aren't familiar with or if they are small and haven't yet grown their recognisable flowers/leaves. The best way, no doubt, is to ask someone that knows. They will tell you all about it - colloquial names, interesting facts, what it can be used for, is it edible etc. If you don't have access to a botanical master then you can try books or maybe the internet but I wouldn't rely on an internet search if you are planning on sautéing the plant for dinner. Another method I have recently discovered is an app called PictureThis. It seems fairly reliable. You take a photograph and it scans its database to find a match. It then gives you various details including its common name, latin name, fun facts and even the occasional poem. I really like it!
So here follows the first three ID cards of Byng Brook Orchard.
Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis Perennis)
Plant Height (cm) 35
Flower size (cm) 1
Flowering length (months) 3
Bee factor 1
FUN FACT - It can be used to make a pretty blue dye!
Cuckoo Pint (Arum maculatem)
Plant Height (cm) 45
Flower size (cm) 20
Flowering length (months) 2
Bee factor 4
FUN FACT - Powdered Arum root would be used by 18th century Parisian ladies to whiten their skin.
Common Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium)
Its flowers, that look similar to cow parsley, appear between June and October and are amazing nectar providers for honey bees.
Plant Height (cm) 180
Flower size (cm) 30
Flowering length (months) 5
Bee factor 9
FUN FACT - known as the bear's paw in Romania and taken as an aphrodisiac!