Categories

Lords and Ladies, Cuckoo Pint

Arum maculatum

Description

The growth and blooming period of Arum maculatum lasts from spring to early summer. It spends the rest of the year as a leafless rhizome. This is an adaptation to habitats in which sufficient water and light are only available in spring.

In the English-speaking world, Arum maculatum is mainly known as Lords and Ladies, Cuckoo Pint or Snakeshead. In Germany it is called Spotted Arum. This name can be confusing, because not all specimens have dark spots on their leaves. In my region I have found only plants with plain green leaves.

Arum maculatum can grow up to 40 cm high. All plant parts are poisonous.

Distribution/regions

The range of Arum maculatum extends from Europe (Northern Europe, Central Europe, Southern Europe) to Asia (Western Asia/Turkey). In other regions it is used as an ornamental plant.

It prefers semi-shady to shady areas and can be found in forests and shrubbery, on embankments or river banks.

Uses

Lords and Ladies is occasionally used as an ornamental plant. It is no longer of importance as a medicinal plant, it is only used in homeopathy.

Pollinators

It is pollinated by flies. In order to attract them, the flowers exude an odor of decay.

Common names

Dutch
Gevlekte aronskelk

French
Arum Tacheté, Gouet Tacheté

German
Gefleckter Aronstab, Zehrwurz

Italian
Gigaro scuro

Portuguese
Jarro

Spanish
Aro muchado, culebrera

Categories

Coltsfoot

Tussilago farfara

Description

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) is a perennial deciduous plant. Its flowers appear before the leaves, the flowering period can start as early as February and last until May.

It spreads by runners and seeds. This member of the Daisy family grows between 10 and 30 centimetres high.

It can also be found in urban areas. Some of the photos shown here were taken in front of my home, where coltsfoot has been blooming and thriving in front of the wall for several years.

Countries

The natural range of coltsfoot covers most European countries and extends to North Africa and tropical Asia (India). In Iceland, New Zealand and North America it grows as a naturalized species.

Northern Europe: Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Ireland, Norway, Sweden
Central Europe: Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Hungary
Eastern Europe: Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine
Southeast Europe: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia
South West Europe: France, Portugal, Spain

Uses

Coltsfoot is used as a medicinal plant, for example for colds or viral infects.

Pollinators

Tussilago farfara is pollinated by wild bees, honey bees, flies and beetles.

Coltsfoot with Honey Bee

Common names

Dutch
Klein hoefblad

French
Tussilage, Pas-d’Âne

German
Huflattich

Italian
Tossilaggine comune

Portuguese
Tussilagem, unha-de-cavalo, unha-de-asno

Spanish
Uña de caballo, tusílago, fárfara, pie de mulo, pata de mula

Coltsfoot in front of house wall
Wilted coltsfoot

Categories

Rock Fumewort, Yellow Corydalis

Pseudofumaria lutea

Description

The Rock Fumewort (Pseudofumaria lutea, formerly Corydalis lutea) can reach heights of 15 to 30 centimetres and is a naturalised species in many European countries. It grows on walls, scree slopes, roadsides, bushes and is often found near gardens and in cities.

Here in Germany its flowering time can begin as early as February and last until September. In mild regions it is an evergreen plant.

All parts of the plant are poisonous.

Countries

The natural distribution area probably includes in these regions:

Central Europe: Switzerland
Eastern Europe: Ukraine
Southeast Europe: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia

As a naturalized species, the Yellow Larkspur can also be found in these European countries:

Northern Europe: Denmark, Great Britain, Ireland, Norway, Sweden
Central Europe: Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic
Eastern Europe: Estonia, Lithuania, Russia
South West Europe: France, Spain

(Source)

Uses

Pseudofumaria lutea is used as a garden perennial. However, this Fumewort, with a maximum temperature of -15 °C, cannot tolerate as much frost as its other European relatives. It is suitable for sunny to semi-shady areas with moist but mineral soil.

Pollinators

Wild bees, honey bees, flies

Common names

Dutch
Gele helmbloem

French
Corydale Jaune

German
Gelber Lerchensporn

Italian
Colombina gialla

Portuguese
Fumária amarela

Spanish
Corydale Jaune

Corydalis lutea
Rock Fumewort
Yellow Corydalis
Categories

Draba verna

Draba verna

Description

Draba verna belongs to the cabbage family (Brassicaceae) and grows only as an annual. The name Spring Draba refers to its very early flowering time, here in Central Europe it blooms from February to May.

The plant, which grows to a height of only 3 to 10 centimetres, is closely related to the Rockcress (Arabis). It can be found along roadsides, on railway embankments, walls and in meadows.

Other common names are Early Whitlow Grass, Shadflower and Nailwort.

Countries

Apart from Europe, Spring Draba is also native to North Africa (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia) and Asia (West Asia to India).

Northern Europe: Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden
Central Europe: Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Czech Republic
Eastern Europe: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus
South-Eastern Europe: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia
South-Western Europe: France, Portugal, Spain

Uses

Spring Draba is neither used as a medicinal nor as an ornamental plant. For rock gardens, the closely related Yellow Whitlow-Grass (Draba aizoides) is suitable.

Pollinators

Draba verna is self-fertile and is rarely approached by wild bees.

Spring Draba growing on a wall with Summer Lilac (Buddleja davidii).

Common names

Dutch
Vroegeling

French
Drave Printanière

German
Frühlings-Hungerblümchen

Italian
Draba primaverile

Spanish
Pan y quesillo, pan y quesito, yerbecilla temprana, erofila

Shadflower
Nailwort
Vernal Whitlow Grass
Sprind Draba fruits

Categories

Wood Violet, Sweet Violet

Viola odorata

Description

The Wood Violet (Viola odorata) is an early and late bloomer. Its main flowering time is in spring and lasts from February to April here in Germany. However, it likes to show sporadic flowers as early as October or November.

The flowers of the wild type are blue-violet to purple in colour. There are also varieties with white, pink, light blue, yellow or speckled flowers. Depending on the water and nutrient supply at the location, the Wood Violet can grow between 5 and 10 centimetres high.

Viola odorata can be found in parks, gardens, along roadsides, along the edges of bushes and in light woodland. It prefers semi-shady locations with evenly moist but not wet soil. It is spread by runners and seeds.

Because of its sweet-smelling flowers it is also known as Sweet Violet. Other common names are Common Violet, English Violet and Garden Violet.

Countries

Viola odorata is native to many European countries, in some it grows as an introduced species. Its area of distribution reaches as far as Asia (West Asia, India) and North Africa.

Northern Europe: Denmark, Great Britain, Ireland, Norway, Sweden
Central Europe: Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Hungary
Eastern Europe: Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus
Southeast Europe: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia
South West Europe: France, Portugal, Spain

Uses

Besides being used as a garden perennial, Viola odorata is also used as a scented plant or kitchen herb, its leaves and flowers are edible.

Pollinators

Honey bees, wild bees, flies, the seeds are spread by ants.

Common names

Dutch
Maarts viooltje

French
Violette Odorante, Pensée

German
Duftveilchen, Wohlriechendes Veilchen, Märzveilchen

Italian
Viola mammola

Portuguese
Víolas-roxas, violetas-de-cheiro

Spanish
Violeta común, violeta de jardín, viola

Wood Violets
Sweet Violet
Common Violet
Categories

Common Daffodil, Wild Daffodil

Narcissus pseudonarcissus

Description

Although it is also found growing wild in Germany, we mostly only see cultivated forms of the Common Daffodil or Lent Lily (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) in parks and gardens.

The wild form remains smaller than the large-flowered varieties, its flowers are light yellow in colour.

The flowering period of Narcissus pseudonarcissus lasts here in Central Europe from March to May. It can show its first leaf tips as early as January, the vegetation period lasts until early summer, and it spends the rest of the year as a leafless bulb. Propagation takes place through seeds and daughter bulbs.

The Wild Daffodil can be found in meadows, sparse forests, along streams or in bushes.

Other common names are Lent Lily, Tenby Daffodil, Trumpet Narcissus.

Countries

The natural distribution area reaches from Europe to the Caucasus (Asia).

Northern Europe: Great Britain
Central Europe: Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland
South-East Europe: Italy
South West Europe: France, Portugal, Spain

In other European countries Narcissus pseudonarcissus is a naturalized species.

Uses

The Common Daffodil is a popular garden and park plant which is also used as a cut flower.

Pollinators

Narcissus pseudonarcissus is flown to by wild bees and honey bees.

Common names

Dutch
Wilde narcis

French
Narcisse Jaune, Narcisse Trompette

German
Osterglocke, Osterglöckchen, Gelbe Narzisse, Trompeten-Narzisse

Italian
Narciso trombone

Portuguese
Narciso-trombeta

Spanish
Narciso de los prados, narciso trompón

Categories

Common Ivy, English Ivy, European Ivy

Hedera helix

Description

Common Ivy (Hedera helix) is an evergreen climbing plant and can grow up to 30 metres high.

It grows either creeping on the ground or climbing up trees, bushes or walls. Aerial roots are developed for attachment.

Young plants differ from the adult ones by the shape and colouring of their leaves. In addition, the shoots of adult specimens are woody.

Hedera helix can become several hundred years old. Since it flowers from late summer to autumn, it is an important source of food for insects. It can provide shelter and nesting space for birds. Blackbirds like to eat its berries.

All parts of the plant are poisonous, including the berries. Contact with the plant sap can lead to allergic reactions.

In everyday life with Common Ivy, its poisonousness is not a problem if it is not stroked like a cat. If you always wear gloves when working in the garden, you have nothing to fear anyway.

Countries

Northern Europe: Denmark, Great Britain, Ireland, Norway, Sweden
Central Europe: Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Hungary
Eastern Europe: Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus
Southeastern Europe: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia
Southwestern Europe: France, Portugal, Spain

Apart from Europe, Common Ivy is also native to North Africa, the Caucasus and Western Asia. As an introduced species it can be found in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.

Uses

Ivy is used as an ornamental and medicinal plant. It makes a good ground cover in the garden and can also be cultivated as a potted plant on the balcony or indoor.

Pollinators

Honey bees, wild bees, wasps, hornets, hoverflies, flies, butterflies, beetles

Common names

Dutch
Klimop

French
Lierre, Lierre Grimpant

German
Efeu, Gemeiner Efeu, Gewöhnlicher Efeu

Italian
Edera comune

Portuguese
Hera

Spanish
Hiedra común, hiedra arbórea, hiedra, yedra arbórea, yedra común, yedra

Common Ivy adult leaves
Common Ivy aerial roots
Common Ivy ground cover
Categories

Narrow-Leaf Ragwort, South African Ragwort

Senecio inaequidens

Description

The Narrow-Leaf Ragwort (Senecio inaequidens) grows up to 60 centimetres high and flowers here in Germany from June to November, in mild winters its flowering period can last until January.

The plant, which belongs to the Daisy family (Asteraceae), is often found along motorways or railway lines and in cities. Road sides, rubble heaps and industrial wastelands are also colonized.

Senecio inaequidens prefers sunny and warm locations and tolerates permeable and dry soils.

Countries

The South African Ragwort is native to South Africa and a naturalized species in: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.

It can also be found in Japan and Turkey.

Uses

None known, the Narrow-Leaf Ragwort contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids which can cause liver damage.

Pollinators

Senecio inaequidens is pollinated by honey bees, wild bees and flies.

Common names

Dutch
Bezemkruiskruid

French
Séneçon de Mazamet, Séneçon du Cap

German
Schmalblättriges Greiskraut, Schmalblättriges Kreuzkraut

Italian
Senecione sudafricano

Portuguese
Senecio

Spanish
Senecio del Cabo

South African Ragwort
Narrow-Leaf Ragwort

Categories

Red Deadnettle, Purple Deadnettle

Lamium purpureum

Description

The Purple Deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) is one of the few European wild plants that also blooms in winter. Its growing season lasts from autumn to early summer, the main flowering period here in Germany is from March to May. However, this annual species often shows its first flowers as early as November and, depending on the weather, blooms until spring.

The purple deadnettle grows between 10 and 40 centimetres high. It is not poisonous and populates meadows, embankments, gardens, rubble heaps and can also be found along roadsides.

Lamium purpureum is also known as Red Archangel and Purple Archangel.

Countries

The distribution area of the Purple Deadnettle includes many European countries as well as parts of West Asia and North Africa.

Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine

Uses

Young tender leaves can be prepared raw like lettuce or blanched like spinach.

Pollinators

Lamium purpureum is pollinated by honey bees, bumble bees and other wild bees and is a welcome source of food for these insects on mild winter days.

Common names

Dutch
Paarse dovenetel

French
Lamier Pourpre

German
Purpurrote Taubnessel

Italian
Falsa ortica purpurea, làmio purpurea

Portuguese
Lâmio-roxol

Spanish
Lamio púrpura, ortiga roja, ortiga muerta purpúrea

Red Deadnettle
Purple Deadnettle
Red Archangels in a meadow
Purple Archangels with Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Categories

Indian Lettuce, Miner’s Lettuce

Claytonia perfoliata

Description

In Europe the Indian Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata) is a neophyte. It originates from North America, but is now also common in many European countries.

The annual plant belongs to the family Montiaceae. Its growing season lasts from autumn to early summer. Here in Germany the small white flowers appear from February to June.

Claytonia perfoliata can grow up to 30 centimetres high and can be found along roadsides, in fields, weed fields and prefers part-shaded to shaded places.

Indian Lettuce is not related to Lettuce (Lactuca sativa, daisy family Asteraceae).

Claytonia perfoliata is also known as Spring Beauty, Winter Purslane or Cuban Spinach.

Countries

As a naturalized species Indian Lettuce can be found in: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Uses

Indian Lettuce can be eaten raw or cooked. Its leaves and flowers are edible. Besides vitamin C, it also contains iron, calcium, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids.

Common names

Dutch
Winterpostelein, kleine winterpostelein

French
Claytonia Perfoliée, Claytone de Cuba, Pourpier d’Hiver

German
Gewöhnliches Tellerkraut, Winterportulak, Postelein

Italian
Lattuga dei minatori, portulaca invernale

Portuguese
Beldroega-de-inverno

Spanish
Lechuga del minero

Indian Lettuce
Winter Purslane
Spring Beauty
Miner’s Lettuce
Cuban Spinach