Broad-leaved WillowherbWednesday 2nd August 2000
LEAFY HAWKWEED, Hieracium umbellatum, in flower by the towpath, is one of the few members of the hawkweed family that I can always identify with confidence; all those leaves along the stem make it pretty obvious. Most hawkweeds consist of a basal rosette of leaves and a long flower stem, sometimes branched towards the top, rather like the related Cat's-Ear (left) which also grows by the canal.
Broad-leaved Willowherb, Epilobium montanum, grows by the garden wall from between the cracks between the paving stones in the drive, in spite of my hit-and-miss weeding. Besides being a garden weed, it grows in woods, hedges and ditches. Linnaeus gave it the species name montanum, and it has been recorded up to 2,600 metres in mainland Europe, 960 in Britain.
The flower stem, which was drooping as I drew this in the evening, had straightened up the next morning. This drooping is a normal part of its growth, it wasn't the situation it was growing in that had caused it. This pinkish purple flower opened to show its four deeply notched petals and four-lobed stigmas.
A Dunnock hops about on the patio. It's a bird we see less of in spring and summer, perhaps its nesting season is over now.