The Field - - MOTORING -

This book is not just about spotting the glo­ri­ous golo­den­rod or eye­bright on your rural per­am­bu­la­tions, it aims to bring the world of these pre­cious wild flow­ers alive. They are not merely rus­tic adorn­ments but liv­ing em­bod­i­ments of su­per­sti­tion, medic­i­nal prac­tices, lit­er­a­ture and folk­lore. They are a botan­i­cal en­cap­su­la­tion of the his­tory of the rural world. And Rosa­mond Richard­son’s di­vert­ing book pays homage.

From the dandelion we picked as smalls to the bor­age we put in ice cubes for sun­down­ers, wild flow­ers have myr­iad uses. They have de­light­ful names and pretty blooms, al­though some have ter­ri­ble side ef­fects, such as hog­weed, which smells pun­gent and leaves blis­ters on skin from a mere touch.

Big, small, dan­ger­ous or de­light­ful, Richard­son’s 280-page book, ar­ranged al­pha­bet­i­cally and with colour­ful line draw­ing to iden­tify each wild flower, is a boon com­pan­ion. By Rosa­mond Richard­son Na­tional Trust, £10

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