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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!

12 May, 2016

Travellers Joy: the old mans beard

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Traveller's joy (Clematis vitalba) is also known as old man's beard as well as wild clematis. You may frequently encounter any one of these names but most field guides seem to favour traveller's joy although I am not sure why when the other two seem more appropriate to me! 
The hedgerows of Dorset are full of this vigorous climbing plant, it can be found anywhere on chalk and limestone soils and where it occurs it can be abundant. It is its presence in the hedgerows that border footpaths and bridle ways that make it such a joy to behold for weary travellers.
The traveller's joy is a double win for our wildlife population as the lovely little cream flowers come out in mid-summer and are a popular nectar source and then, in autumn, massed seed heads appear and so our seed eating birds take their turn. It is the white, fluffy seed heads that give it the name old man's beard. It is certainly one of our more scruffy plants but it really is lovely where ever it occurs whether in flower or in seed. 
Travellers Joy: the old mans beard