Yesterday Little Owl and I had a visit from our friend Emily (Elemee to Little Owl). We went for a wander down by the river and there was a plethora of wild flowers to see. Many of our old friends were out: water avens, bluebells, white comfrey, marsh marigolds, and greater stitchwort. But there were also some new additions. These corn marigolds were peeping out from behind a tree…just a single clump.
There were also blankets of a little pink flower in amongst the bluebells. After searching my books the only culprit I can come up with is common centaury (I don’t know how you’re supposed to say that). It doesn’t quite fit the description, being much taller and paler where we are. Then I read: “Before the enormous range of size and form displayed by the species was realised, different plants were sometimes treated as different species.” So have decided it must be. Apparently it is also a biennial, which explains why we didn’t see it last year (although that’s not the only explanation…short-sightedness is another!). Apparently common centaury is named after the centaur Chiron who used the plant to cure himself of a wound inflicted by the nine-headed serpent Hydra. Personally I think he was lucky he had his fight in the right year of its cycle, but maybe it doesn’t matter.
Our friend Elemee is a wonderful writer and poet, known as Aunty Emily. Do take a look at her blog here.