Flowers shown to the children part-7

Image courtesy of George Chernilvesky   Public domainFile:Poppies bouquet 2017 G1.jpg


The text on this page is taken from the book 'Flowers shown to the Children\ by C E Smith and illustrated by Janet Harvey Kelman, 

The pages are courtesy of the Gutenburg Project. The Book is not in copyright under the Gutenberg license visit www.gutenberg.org

The coloured images/photographs are my personal choice. [see reuse of images below}  

This page is aimed at educating children the future custodians of our countryside. 

Plate -1


1 Common bugle

The Common Bugle is a low-growing plant, very frequently found in open woods, banks, and pastures. It blooms in spring and early summer.

You will not think this a very attractive plant. The leaves and flowers are crowded together from top to bottom of the main stem. The stem is pale purple, and has four sides. It is hollow in the centre, and breaks off easily because it is soft and juicy.

The flowers grow without stalks in circles close to the stem wherever the leaves join it, and each circle is close to the one above it.

In every flower there is a slender tube, and one half of this tube folds over at the mouth into three lips, the centre lip having a notch in the middle. The other half of the tube stands erect.

These flowers are usually deep blue, but you may find them purple, or rose colour, or even white. They are never yellow.

Four golden-headed stamens stand up a good way beyond the mouth of the flower; two of these are short and two are much longer. The forked tip of the seed-vessel can be seen among these stamens.

The end of each tube stands in a small green calyx-cup edged with pointed teeth.

The leaves of the Common Bugle are dark green, and each pair clasps the stem closely at the bottom.

2 Ground ivy

The Ground Ivy bears little resemblance to the ivy we all know so well. It is common everywhere, and blooms in spring and early summer.

The flowers grow without stalks in whorls or circles close to the stem where the leaves spring from it. These flowers are dark purply-blue tubes, prettily divided at the mouth into rounded lips. The lower lips are marked with white and dark purple blotches. Inside the tubes are four small stamens with yellow heads; you can just see them at its mouth, with the forked tip of the seed-vessel among them.

There are usually six or more flowers in a whorl, and each flower has a green calyx-cup which is very hairy and is edged with five long sharp teeth.

From each side of the stem, close among the flowers, grow two leaves on pink stalks. These leaves are round and are beautifully scolloped at the edge. Each leaf is covered with a network of veins and is hairy all over, both above and below, as well as round the scollops.

These circles of leaves and flowers grow at intervals all the way up the stem, with a good distance between each circle, and the flowers in the lowest circles always come out first.

The stem of the Ground Ivy is four-sided. It is tinged with pink and is very hairy.

3 Hairy water mint { Water mint}

This strong-smelling plant is common everywhere. It likes to grow in wet places, and it is in flower towards the end of summer and in autumn.

The Water Mint is not an attractive plant. It has four-sided juicy green stems stained with purple. These stems do not grow straight.

The flowers grow in pink clover-shaped heads, either at the end of the main stem or sometimes on very short stalks which spring from between the stem and the leaf.

Each pink head is made up of many tiny tubes. These tubes are prettily cut round the mouth, and you can see four stamens, with deep crimson heads, coming out of the mouth of each tube. The forked tip of the seed-vessel is so tiny you scarcely notice it.

Below the flower there is a deep funnel-shaped calyx in which each pink tube stands, and both it and the flowers are covered with fine soft hairs. There is often a pair of small oval green leaves just beneath the head of flowers.

The leaves of the Hairy Water Mint are broadly oval with widely separated teeth round the edge. They grow in pairs on short stalks on each side of the main stem, and they are hairy all over.

3 Watermint

Image courtesy of Derek Harper  geograph.org.uk CC BY-SA 2.0 license File:Water Mint - geograph.org.uk - 537005.jpg

Plate 2


1 Common fumitory

The Common Fumitory is abundant in all parts of Britain, and it blooms in summer. The flowers grow in loose clusters. Those that are lowest down the stem come out first, and the buds are always at the top of the stem.

The flowers are a pretty rose pink colour, but the tips are often purple, especially before the flower is fully out. The petals are curiously shaped. They are joined together into a tube which is curved at the end, and inside this tube the stamens and the seed-vessel are hidden. You will notice that there is a tiny piece of one petal which is not joined to the others. It stands out by itself and looks like a small pink tongue, which broadens at the end. You can always recognise the Fumitory by this pink tongue.

There are two tiny green sepals with edges cut like the teeth of a saw, and the pink tube lies in between these sepals. After the pink tube falls off, the seed-vessel, which is inside, grows into a little green knot. You can see many of these little green knots on the lower part of the stem where there have once been flowers.

The green leaves of the Fumitory are very delicate and pretty. They are finely cut up into many little divisions, and each division is a beautiful shade of grey-green

2 Ragged robin

This untidy plant likes to grow in damp places; it is very common in meadows and in marshes, and it blooms all summer.

The flowers grow in twos and threes, on short stalks which branch opposite each other near the end of a long slender stem.

The petals are a delicate pale pink, and they are very much cut up into narrow ragged pieces. You will easily know the Ragged Robin by these pink petals.

The sepals are joined together into a cup which is cut into teeth all round the mouth. They are dark green tinged with red, and have many purple veins running from top to bottom.

The leaves of the Ragged Robin are shaped like a lance. They are long and narrow with smooth edges, and they grow opposite each other in pairs, closely clasping the stem. Those leaves that grow close to the ground have sometimes short stalks.

The upper part of the sticky stem is dark red in colour, and it is usually rough.

3 Red Campion

This pretty summer plant is fond of damp places like its cousin the Ragged Robin.

It has pink flowers, which usually grow in pairs at the end of slender stalks branching from the main stem. Sometimes you may find a single flower growing on a small stalk in between two pairs on much larger stalks.

There are five petals, each with a deep nick in the centre, as if a three-cornered piece had been cut out. These petals lie flat open round the rim of the reddish-green cup formed by the sepals; and if you pull the sepals apart, you find that the petals have long strap-shaped ends which go right down into the cup.

There is a curious thing about this plant. You find one pink flower with a bunch of stamens inside the cup. You can see their tips peeping out where the pink petals all meet together. There is no seed-vessel in the middle. And in another plant, that looks just the same till you examine it, you find no stamens, but instead there is a green seed-vessel in the centre of the cup, with fine, wavy green threads at the top which stand out where the petals join.

The stem of the Red Campion is red and sticky, and the leaves grow opposite each other in pairs which clasp the stem.

If you crush the leaves and stalks they give out a strong scent which is not pleasant.

Flower of Ragged robin {2}

Image courtesy of AnemoneProjectors {Originally posted to Flickr} CC BY-SA 2.0 license.File:Ragged-robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi).jpg

1 Dove's-foot Crane's-bill

The Dove's-foot Crane's-bill is known to us all. You will find it flowering by the roadside from May to September.

The flowers are small and pink, sometimes almost purple. They have five petals, each with a notch in the broad end and with many fine hairs near the narrow end.

The flowers open flat, like a wheel, and you can see the green tips of the sepals appearing between each of the pink petals, as you look down into the flower.

After all the pink petals have fallen off, a thin green spike shoots up in the middle of the sepals. These sepals no longer lie flat open, but half closed, they form a green cup. The spike holds the seeds, and when it is time for them to be scattered over the ground, five green threads loosen themselves from the bottom of the spike and curl up nearly to the top. At the end of each of these green threads there is a seed, and very soon the green threads crack and the seeds fall to the ground.

The leaves of the Dove's-foot Crane's-bill are very soft and downy. They are round in shape and are covered with fine hairs. Each leaf is divided into seven parts, which are toothed round the edges.

This plant has a weak stem, which lies near the ground. It is tinged with pink, and is very hairy.

Plate 3


2 Herb Robert

The Herb-Robert is common everywhere in early summer. It is a cousin of the Dove's-foot Crane's-bill, but differs from it in some points which you must notice. The stems are much stronger and can stand upright.

The flowers are longer than those of the Dove's-foot Crane's-bill, and the five petals have no notch in the broad end, and no hairs at the narrow end. These petals are pale pink, streaked with white or purple, and they grow in pairs at the end of short stalks which branch near each other from the main stem.

The sepals are of two kinds. You have three outer sepals which are green and hairy, and inside these there are two others which are very thin and almost colourless.

The seeds of the Herb-Robert are scattered in the same way as those of the Dove's-foot Crane's-bill.

You will always know this plant by its beautiful red leaves. They are shaped like a hand, and are cut up into many tiny fingers. At first they are green, but very soon they become a beautiful red colour. So do the stalks.

The whole plant has a strong and rather unpleasant odour.

3 Stork's Bill

The Stork's Bill is very well known. In summer it grows plentifully on dry ground, especially near the sea coast.

The flowers grow on short stalks. You will find a bunch of five flower-stalks rising together at the end of the main stem. Each flower has five pretty pink petals with smooth edges. These pink petals soon fall off, and you then notice a long green spike coming out of the green cup formed by the sepals. Each green spike is supposed to resemble a stork's bill, and from this resemblance the flower gets its name.

When the plant is ready to scatter its seeds, many fine green threads loosen themselves from the spike, and curl round and round like a corkscrew. At the end of each green thread there is a seed. When the seed is ripe, both the seed and the corkscrew-thread separate from the spike and fall to the ground.

The green leaves of the Stork's Bill are cut up into leaflets which are arranged on each side of a centre stalk, but not always exactly opposite each other. There is always a single leaflet at the end of this centre stalk.

3 Stork's Bill

Image courtesy of Franco Folini {USA} CC BY-SA 2.0 licenseFile:Stork's-bill (Erodium cicutarium) (4361637278).jpg

Plate 4


1 Rest Harrow

The Rest Harrow is to be found in sandy places near the sea, and blooms all summer.

It belongs to the Pea family, along with the Broom and the Whin. But in this plant the flower-petals are a beautiful rose-pink colour.

The largest petal, which is called the standard, is streaked with veins of deep red. The two side petals, or 'wings,' are pale pink, and the tip of the two 'keel' petals, which are joined together into a little boat and hide the stamens, is also a deep rose-red.

The flowers have scarcely any stalks. They grow close to the main stem, in a green calyx-cup edged with five sharp teeth, and there are small green leaves beside each flower.

These leaves are dark green in front but are much paler behind, and they have tiny teeth all round the edges.

Sometimes, close to the root, you find leaves which grow in threes, but oftenest the plant has single oval leaves, and these are always covered with fine hairs.

The Rest Harrow usually lies close to the ground, but you may find it growing upright like a small bush.

It has long, tough roots, which creep through the soil, and these are said to be so strong they will turn aside the harrow when it is drawn over the field.

2 Sainfoin

Some people tell us that this is not a British wildflower, but one which was brought from some other country to grow in our gardens. They say that the wind and the birds carried away the seeds, and the plant learned to grow among our other wildflowers. In any case, you find its handsome flowers adorning chalky banks and cliffs all summer and autumn.

Like the Rest Harrow it is a relation of the Pea family, but its flowers grow quite differently.

In colour they are not such a clear pink. The two petals which hide the stamens are almost purple, and the side wings are so tiny, at first you scarcely notice them.

The flowers grow close together in the shape of a cone; you find twelve or more open flowers with no leaves among them, crowded together near the upper end of a long flower-stalk, and at the top of this flower-stalk there is always a bunch of buds.

The calyx is a green cup with five sharp teeth round the mouth, and it is covered with woolly hairs.

The leaves of the Saintfoin are long and narrow, and the edges are quite smooth. Each leaf is made up of from eight to twelve pairs of leaflets growing opposite each other on a leaf-stalk, and there is always a solitary leaflet growing at the end of the stalk.

3 Red clover

The Red Clover is as well known as the Buttercup. It grows all summer in every hayfield. Sometimes the flowers are large and showy, and sometimes they are quite small.

The Red Clover is a member of the Pea family, though at first you may not think that the flowers are at all like those of the Broom or the Rest Harrow. These flowers grow in a round head, thirty or forty of them close together at the end of the flower-stalk.

If you pull a single flower apart from the others and separate the petals, you will see that they are shaped in the same way as those of the other Pea plants.

You find one large standard petal which stands erect, rather a long, narrow petal in this plant. Then there are two side petals for the 'wings,' and two front petals joined together so as to form a tiny boat, and in this boat the stamens and seed-vessel are hidden.

These petals are a pale pinky-red, and each flower is set in a green calyx-cup edged with five long teeth.

The leaves of the Red Clover are 'Trefoils'; that means that they grow in groups of three. Each group has a short stalk, and there are curious yellow markings in the centre of each oval leaf. The edges are smooth, and the leaves are covered with fine downy hairs.

Flower of Sainfoin {2}

Image courtesy of AnemoneProjectors {originally posted on Flickr} CC BY-SA 2.0 licenseFile:Sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia).jpg

Plate 5


1 Dog Rose

There are a great many wild roses, pink, white, and crimson, but the pink Dog Rose is the commonest. Every one has gathered it in the sunny June days.

You must notice a curious thing about the seed-vessel of this plant. Only the top of it rises in the middle of the stamens. But if you look at the back of the flower, you see a small green swelling at the end of the stalk, and the sepals and petals and the stamens stand in a ring round the top of this swelling. This is the seed-vessel, and in autumn, after the flower is withered, it will grow into a round red berry, which is called a hip.

The sepals of the rose are very pretty. They are cut up into many points like small leaves, and after the flower is withered these points fold right back and cover the green berry. Later on they dry up and fall off, leaving the berry bare.

The rose leaves are too well known to need any description. Notice the two narrow green leaves, like wings, which grow at the foot of the leaf-stalk, clasping the main stem.

The Dog Rose is very thorny. There are large hooks all over the main stem, as well as close to the flower, and these hooks are often coloured a bright crimson

2 Burnet rose

The Burnet Rose is different in several ways from the Dog Rose. It grows in early summer on sandy sea shores and on heaths, but not in the hedges, and the flowers are usually white.

It is a much smaller plant than the Dog Rose. Its leaves grow closely crowded together in a small, low bush, and there are no long shoots running out from the plant.

The main stem of the Burnet Rose is a bright pink colour, and instead of having big hooks here and there it is covered from top to bottom with fine sharp prickles of all sizes.

The green sepals are pointed, but they are not cut up into leafy tips as in the Dog Rose. Neither do they fold back over the seed-vessel after the flower is withered, but remain standing straight up at the top of the berry.

The seed-vessel of this rose is rounder than the hip of the Dog Rose. When ripe it is a dark purple colour which is almost black.

The leaves are made up of leaflets which grow in pairs opposite each other on a leaf stalk, and there is always an odd leaflet at the end of the stalk. They are small, nearly oval, and the edges are cut all round into fine teeth.

3 Lousewort

This bright plant is common all over the country. It grows in wet places, such as bogs and damp fields, and it is in flower from spring to autumn.

The Lousewort is a small plant and does not rise very far above the ground. The flowers are bright pink, and they grow singly at intervals up the main stem. The flowers are curiously shaped. The lower part is round, like a narrow pink tube, but at the mouth this pink tube becomes much wider and is divided in two. One half rises straight up and then bends over at the top like a hood.

Inside the pink hood are hidden the yellow heads of the stamens. The other half of the flower is divided at the edge into three pink scollops, which fold back so that you can look inside the tube of the flower. After the pink flowers are withered the calyx-cup swells into a small bladder, and on windy days you can hear the seeds rattling inside this bladder.

The stem of the Lousewort is hairy, and the leaves grow very close to it. These leaves are made up of small fingers with deeply toothed edges, which grow in pairs on each side of the centre leaf-stalk. There are frequently six pairs of these fingers on one stalk, and there is always a single finger at the end of the stalk

Lousewort flowers

Image courtesy of Anne Burgess  geograph.org.uk  CC BY-SA 2.0 licenseFile:Lousewort (Pedicularis sylvatica) - geograph.org.uk - 1377248.jpg


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