Winter Heliotrope (Petasites fragrans)

This persistent perennial may be found flowering between December and March. Unlike its near relative Butterbur, leaves are present during flowering, and persist throughout the winter. Winter Heliotrope, with its fragrant vanilla scent, is an introduced plant from North Africa, and it may be found on waste ground, along hedgerows, as well as on roadside verges as seen here.

Winter Heliotrope, Alton, Callow Hill 26 December 2016

Winter Heliotrope, Alton, Callow Hill, 26 December 2016

Sneezewort Achillea ptarmica

It was good to find Sneezewort flowering in a meadow near Button Oak recently. We don’t find this plant growing very often around Wyre. It grows in damp grasslands. The smell of the flowers is supposed to make you sneeze, although it was the roots that used to be collected to treat toothache apparently.

Sneezewort, Button Oak, 24 August 2016 ©Rosemary Wnnall

Rue-leaved Saxifrage Saxifraga tridactylites

This small inconspicuous plant grows along the quayside in Bewdley. It is only about 4cms tall and has 3 fingered leaf lobes from which it gets its latin name. It is an annual, flowering in April and May, and the white flowers have petals measuring only 2mm. The sticky leaves often have windblown seeds and hairs attached.

Rue-leaved Saxifrage, Bewdley quayside, 16 May 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall

Chaffweed (Centunculus minimus)

Chaffweed is one of the smallest flowering plants in Europe. Many of these annual flowering plants in Wyre are just 2cms tall. It can be found (by the observant!) growing in damp muddy places where there is little competition from other plants, so is often most easily spotted alongside forestry tracks and pathways. The leaves have a black border beneath and the fruits are like tiny apples as seen in the photograph.

Chaffweed (Centunculus minima), Wimperhill, 6th August 2013