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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 May, 2016

Meadowsweet: a bit of a headache

Along with the sea cliffs there is no better place to walk in summer than along the banks of Dorset's wonderful chalk rivers. There is such a rich variety of plants, insects and other animals that thrive in these habitats. Among the plants in summer you will frequently find this dense, fluffy creamy white flower, Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria). Surprisingly, perhaps, it is a member of the rose family.

It flowers from June right through until October and is immensely popular with insects of all kinds probably attracted by the lovely fragrance of both the flower and its leaves. It occurs away from rivers in other wet places and is often found in wet meadows, drainage ditches and streams, fens and even swamps but it is not keen on acid soils the chalk rivers are the best place to find it.
It apparently contains the chemical used in aspirin and the roots were used as a cure for headaches by herbalists in times gone by. It is also known to induce asthma attacks in sufferers if they get too close!
Meadowsweet: a bit of a headache