Fas­ci­nat­ing plant has picked up many names

Macclesfield Express - - WILDLIFE -

YOU find out some weird and won­der­ful things when you are out and about in the nat­u­ral world.

And a great way to learn about plants and crea­tures is to take in a cou­ple of facts – no mat­ter how strange – ev­ery time you see them.

I live close to Chor­ley, home to the lovely Yar­row Val­ley Coun­try Park, but I never re­ally thought much about yar­row un­til this week.

At the mo­ment yar­row can be seen grow­ing in mead­ows and even on road­side verges. Yar­row is an amaz­ing plant that can sur­vive the tough­est sum­mer droughts be­cause of its deep roots.

While many flow­ers have faded at this time of year the white or li­lac mini flow­ers of the yar­row are still there to keep our in­sects happy.

How­ever, the most amaz­ing thing about the yar­row is the sheer num­ber of names it has picked up over the years.

First of all there is Sol­dier’s Wound­wort, Blood­wort, and Staunch­weed, mainly to do with the fact that it was used to place on wounds to help heal­ing dur­ing wars.

In some com­mu­ni­ties it prob­a­bly con­tin­ues to be used on wounds along with more mod­ern reme­dies.

This is es­pe­cially true in the High­lands where it is made into an oint­ment.

Ap­par­ently it was also used to stop nose bleeds and some peo­ple do still call it Nose Bleed and San­guinary.

The yar­row’s leaves are made up of many seg­ments lead­ing to more names – Thou­sand Weed and Knight’s Mil­foil, and a for­mer use as snuff, hence Old Man’s Pep­per. Some of this could also re­fer to the fact that larger plants pro­duce an as­ton­ish­ing 3,000 seeds.

As if that wasn’t enough, witches and the like used yar­row to cast spells on peo­ple and cre­ated a whole string of names – Bad Man’s Play­thing, Devil’s Play­thing and Devil’s Net­tle. Good grief this poor plant must have a real iden­tity cri­sis.

Peo­ple even ate it as part of sal­ads and yar­row tea is good for colds – you can find the recipes on the in­ter­net but, as with all wild reme­dies, take care.

Another rea­son you need to take ex­tra care is that this multi-named plant looks quite sim­i­lar to hem­lock.

It is quite dizzy­ing to think that a lot of our na­tive plants have won­der­ful back sto­ries, so while you may think that yar­row by the side of the path is bor­ing, think again.

To support the work of the Wildlife Trust for Lan­cashire, Manch­ester and North Mersey­side text WILD09 with the amount you want to do­nate to 70070. The Wildlife Trust for Lan­cashire, Manch­ester and North Mersey­side is ded­i­cated to the pro­tec­tion and pro­mo­tion of the wildlife in Lan­cashire, seven bor­oughs of Greater Manch­ester and four of Mersey­side, all north of the River Mersey. To be­come a mem­ber go to lanc­swt.org.uk or call 01772 324129.

●● The flow­ers of the yar­row plant are still go­ing strong

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