Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Things I saw in the woods today, part 43

The Woodland Project creates havens for butterflies within British woods. To do this, they raze mature trees to the ground and thin out smaller copses. I've always been an opponent to their work as I despise seeing old trees being felled and the wood left to rot. If the wood is used to keep a home warm, I can see some sense in it. This year I was proved wrong: where the trees had disappeared they were replaced by an exquisite meadow of all types of herbs and wild flowers; more importantly, the air was so thick with butterflies I almost needed a mask!

Here's a surprise newcomer which wasn't to be seen last year: St. John's Wort. You may know it as a treatment for depression but in ancient Britain, it was known thus:

'St. John's Wort has been dedicated to John the Baptist. The reddish sap was said to be the blood of John. The superstitious have credited the plant with remarkable mystic qualities. It is the practice to wear the plant as an amulet in order to ward off witches and evil spirits. The plant is also known as  Fuga daemonum- Dare devil.' British Wild Flowers, Charles A. Hall, 1937.

I also came across a sleeping giant on the way back from the woods today.

Sleeping giant
Photos copyright SvD.

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