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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

30 August, 2010

Ploughmans Spikenard (Inula conyzae)

Here is another plant of the downlands that is easily overlooked, not because it is small but because it looks a bit like a Ragwort that has gone over.

It grows on calcareous soils on wasteland, grassland and scrub and so will be found on the Purbeck Ridge and along the cliffs where the earth is, perhaps, a bit bare.

It has a strange name and I have no idea where it comes from. Agreed it is a bit prickly, or spiky, and it is out in the late summer and early autumn when traditionally the fields would have been ploughed after the harvest so perhaps Ploughman's Spikenard is something to do with the spiky plant that ploughmen tread on?

It is a member of the daisy family and the nondescript flower heads turn into clusters of seeds heads, much like a Groundsel.