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plant hairs on sowthistle

Perennial Sowthistle

Thursday, 7th August 2003, West Yorkshire

perennial sowthistle

Self-publishing is fine and it's great to have orders but the downside is that it's gone six in the afternoon before I have time to dash down to the pond, sketdhbook in hand, and sit on the bench and just start drawing the first thing that happens to be in front of me. plant hairs on sowthistleIt's this perennial sowthistle, Sonchus arvensis. One of the identifying features of this weed of elegant proportions is the covering of orange bristles, each tipped with what appears to be a sticky blob on the stems and flower buds.

There are white fluffy specks around the flower-buds too which on close inspection with a hand lens appear to be shapeless blobs of candyfloss. They are in fact scale insects. Through the lens the barrel-shaped flower-bud, with its orange bristles and its random cotton-wool speckling of scale insects, looks like a miniature specimen of a species of barrel-shaped cacti. next page

Richard Bell