Middlebarrow Fungi and Figwort

Tuesday. Off the train. I thought that if I took a walk into Middlebarrow wood, where lots of trees have been felled, I might find some toadstools, so I headed that way. On the way there, on the Row, an old neighbour asked me to take ‘a couple of hundredweight’ of his Laxton’s superb apples off his hands- it has been a bumper year obviously. I baulked at carrying that many and eventually settled on half-a-dozen – very nice they were too.

In fact I found as many toadstools in Eaves Wood as I did in Middlebarrow. In Middlebarrow Quarry saplings are beginning to establish themselves, more I think due to natural regeneration than to the thousands of trees in plastic cylinders which were planted here when quarrying ended. A huge buzzard must have been perched near to where I entered the quarry, and now, apparently effortlessly, coasted away to the far side of the quarry.

Where there were fungi in Middlebarrow Wood it was on old tree stumps rather than on the detritus left after the recent felling. However, there was more light for taking photographs than there had been in Eaves Wood.

I’ve been seeing tiny chocolate brown frogs everywhere I go. This one seemed to think that if it stuck its head out of sight, then I might leave it alone – a bit like sticking your head under the covers when there are unexplained noises in the house at night.

I had been thinking that it will be interesting to come back next spring to see what spring flowers appear in the newly open areas wehre trees have been felled. Unfortunately it didn’t occur to me that some plants might have taken advantage of the lack of cover this summer. There were many interesting looking plants which I didn’t think I would have seen here before. Mostly they had finished flowering so I didn’t think I would have much success identifying any of them.  One prevalent plant had small almost spherical seeds (or seed-cases?) sometimes green and  sometimes dried and black.

I didn’t recognise it until I found some plants which still held flowers:

Tiny…

…but none the less popular…

This is figwort – I’ve seen them locally before but not in the same profusion as on this occasion. Reading up on figwort I find that it grows from a rhizome, so perhaps isn’t as recently established as I was assuming. Apparently herbalists used figwort to treat scrofula or ‘The King’s Evil’. Handy to know.

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Middlebarrow Fungi and Figwort

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