Friday, 15 March 2019

More spring harbingers

It is still blustery and showers keep passing through, but the temperatures are creeping up and flowers are responding.

In my neighbour's garden Balkan Anemones, Anemone blanda, are now in flower. My camera is not good with blue colour and so my photograph fails to do them justice. The petals (strictly speaking, tepals) are of a far more brilliant blue. This lovely plant naturalises easily almost to the point of being invasive in some situations.

Despite its common name of Balkan Anemone this plant is by no means
 confined to that region. Christchurch Drive, Daventry. 15 March, 2019
Pasque flowers were once classed as anemones, bearing the name Pulsatilla vulgaris, but have now been placed in their own genus on a number of counts. They are now Pulsatilla vulgaris, members of a genus ranging right across the northern hemisphere from Britain to Japan and as far as North America.

Pasque Flowers in a rather salmon-pink form. Our garden, Stefen Hill,
Daventry. 15 March, 2019

My own plants are self-seeding nicely, with new specimens popping up in several places. They should provide flowers over a month or so.

Far less colourful, but one of Chris's favourites, is Hacquetia epipactis. The word 'epipactis' was used by Theophrastus for some unknown plants and how it became used as the specific name for this little plant is unclear. As with the two previous plants, what appear to be 'petals' are not truly so. In the case of the Hacquetia the green petaloid structures are really bracts. The plant is in fact a member of the Carrot family, Apiaceae.

Hacquetia epipactis appears to have no common name, simply being
called Hacquetia. Trinity Close, Daventry. 15 March, 2019
The colours of the Hacquetia are broadly the same as its neighbour, Euphorbia myrsinites. Interestingly a Seven-spot Ladybird, an insect well-known for its aphidophagous habits, was visiting the Euphorbia for nectar.
A Seven-spot Ladybird visiting a Euphorbia for nectar.
Trinity Close, Daventry. 15 March, 2019

They will consume this sugar-rich substance to provide energy until aphids become available. In so doing they also become a minor pollinator.

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