Fascinating factoids about some flowers flowering in April

 

Ramsons

168 Ramsons cropped

Chopped and cooked leaves were used to flavour food.  The leaves were used in salads. Ramsons were used to generally promote health and aid digestions, to treat high blood pressure,  internal worms and asthma.

The plant has been used as an insect repellent and disinfectant.

Ramsons have given their name to a number of places in Britain, such as Ramsbottom, Ramsey, Ramsholt and Ramsgreave.

 

Bluebell

165 Bluebell cropped

Bluebells were used to treat bladder ailments and stem bleeding.

The bulbs contain starch that was once used to make glue and stiffen the ruffs worn in Tudor times.

Bluebells are very sensitive to being walked on.  The weight crushes their leaves and prevents them making the food that the plant needs to survive.

Bees feed on the nectar, fertilising the flowers in the process.

Bluebell roots produce roots that contract, pulling the bulb deeper into the soil where there is less danger of the soil drying out.  Bluebells spread by using runner shoots.

Water crowfoot

Water crowfoots are a good indicator of unpolluted water.

Water crowfoot contains toxic chemicals.  Although these can be destroyed by cooking the plant was not used for food in Britain. The presence of Water crowfoot in rivers can indicate the sites of old fords or bridges. The appearance of Water crowfoots varies a lot, and the various species inter-breed.  So even trained botanists can struggle to identify some plants.

 

Squills

The fresh plant has an acrid taste, especially the bulb, which meant that it was not used as a food plant. Squills were used to treat dropsy, kidney problems, chest ailments, and as a diuretic. It is poisonous if over-dosed.  They were used to produce a cough medicine in 600B.C.

Squill extract has been used as rat posion. Dried Squill bulbs were traded for their medicinal properties around the Mediterranean area since ancient times.

Botanists disagree about how many species of Squill there are.  This ranges from 50-80, depending on which ones are considered to be sub-species.  Species can vary in what they look like, which doesn’t help.

More information about these, and many other flowers and berries, can be found in the Naturetale app.

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