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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!

26 September, 2015

Field Madder: out of the blue

Many of our weeds of cultivation tend to be low growing, sprawling and often quite small. I guess this enabled them to survive during harvesting when this was done in traditional ways, that is with manual labour rather than the extensive mechanisation now employed. Field madder (Sherardia arvensis) is a species that fits this description well.
Field madder is a member of the bedstraw family and has the clusters of four petalled flowers that are typical of this group of plants. It also has a square stem that is covered in small hairs. The flower is usually mauve although my photograph may give the idea that they are blue. In some places this is actually known as blue field madder.
Like so many agricultural weeds this little plant is far less common than it once was but it can still be found in

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