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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!

02 December, 2016

Green Alkanet: the evergreen bugloss

This flower has such lovely deep blue petals one wonders why it is called green alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens), after all nearly all flowers have green leaves and stems because they contain chlorophyll. The answer would appear to be that this plant retains its green leaves and stem throughout the winter, it is always green even when there are no blue flowers. 
This species is related to forget-me-nots and that can clearly be seen in the shape of the flowers, blue with a white centre and honey guides. These flowers can be seen from as early as March through util July. It is an erect plant growing to a metre tall with very hairy leaves and stems which give it a rough appearance.
Green alkanet can be found on roadsides and in hedgerows, sometimes in woodland borders, and often this will be near human habitation. Although a native plants it was often grown in cottage gardens and has frequently escaped. It does not grow on acid soils preferring more alkaline conditions and it is thought that is where the alkanet name comes from. There are other varieties of alkanet grown in gardens and they two are sometimes encountered in the wild.
Green Alkanet: the evergreen bugloss