If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

About Me

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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!

08 March, 2016

Silverweed: leaves you in no doubt

Usually we look at the blossoming flower of a plant and decide what it is; after all quite often a flower's colour, shape, number of petals and so on are going to be unique to a particular species. Sometimes though the answer is staring at you from another part of the plant than the flower.
This is certainly true in the case of silverweed (Potentilla anserina) which has a bright yellow, five-petalled flower that actually resembles various other flowers including buttercups and cinquefoils. Look past the flower head to the leaves and their silvery-grey sheen, especially on the underside, and the answer is obvious; it is a silver weed!
Silverweed can be found in short grassy habitats and dry, bare patches anywhere but roadsides and waysides seem to be its stronghold and it can be a very common plant in these conditions. It flowers from May through until August and in some years on into September and beyond. 
In folklore it was supposedly thought to ward of evil spirits and in herbal medicine it has been used as cure for digestive and gynaecological health problems. In Tibet the roots are eaten as a vegetable! Whatever next?
Silverweed: leaves you in no doubt