Thursday, 15 June 2017


There is a plant, native to parts of Britain, called Bloody Cranesbill, Geranium sanguineum. Its name probably refers to the crimson petals although in the autumn its leaves may also turn red.
We have in our garden a small amount of bloody pearlwort - it is a nuisance and is probably known as bloody pearlwort by many other gardeners too. We only have a small amount because Chris is constantly weeding it out, otherwise the crevices between our stone slabs would be choked by it. I notice that a great deal of it grows on the bowling greens at Byfield, Northants, and it probably does so elsewhere.
Its posh name is Procumbent Pearlwort, Sagina procumbens, and despite looking vaguely like a moss is in fact a flowering plant and a member of the Pink Family, Dianthaceae.
Procumbent Pearlwort in our back garden at Stefen Hill, Daventry.
15 June, 2017
The tiny flowers are remarkably, even stultifyingly, dull but they nevertheless produce copious quantities of dust-like seed by means of self-pollination. These, I suspect, are often carried around on muddy footwear although they are probably blown around by the wind. Hand weeding will bring it under control but herbicides are an alternative (although I am told that it is quite resistant to this means of treatment). We have a strict policy of  'no weedkillers' anyway, so for us the point is academic.
The flowers produce huge numbers of seeds. Our garden at Stefen Hill,
Daventry. 15 June, 2017

Were it not for its nuisance value the plant would attract little interest but it does have an odd place in folklore. Apparently in remote parts of Scotland it is believed to be the first plant Christ stepped on when he came to earth and for this reason is believed to ward off evil spirits. (No, I don't understand it either.) Anyway, if any hag-ridden Caledonian cares to drop me a line, I can let him have a sprig or two.

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