Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Greens


Some of the earliest spring wild flowers, like this golden saxifrage Chrysosplenium oppositifolium, are green-flowered and so easily overlooked amongst the prettier violets and primroses, but they do have their own  subtle beauty. This is a plant that's always associated with wet places, like stream banks and the edges of waterfalls. There are two species; this one has opposite pairs of leaves on the main stem, whilst C. alternifolia has its leaves arranged alternately and is much less common. The easiest way to tell them apart is to roll the stems between your fingers - they're square in C.oppositifolia and triangular in C. alternifolia.

Yesterday there were some fine patches of C. oppositifolia just coming into full bloom in Teesdale, on the banks of some of the streams that feed into the Tees along the footpath from Egglestone Abbey to the Meeting of the Waters.

6 comments:

  1. Don't think I've ever seen these, (or noticed them), before Phil.
    They remind me of Euphorbia; Spurge.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It will come as no surprise to you that these are new to me. I'll have a good look today.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Keith, very similar in colour to spurge, Keith. They tend to be in wet, shady places.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Adrian, I think there are quite a few spring flowers that have a greenish hue, that tend to get overlooked in amongst all the more colourful primroses and celandines..

    ReplyDelete
  5. After reading your blog I started to look more closely at the Golden Saxifrage this afternoon on our walk and I was lucky enough to find to find one plant that was the alternate leaved saxifrage. I don't know how uncommon they are but from now on I'll be recording the numbers that I find.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi David, I guess it would vary depending on where you live, but national floras tend to describe opposite-leaved as common and alternative-leaved as local ..... but since most people don't tend to look too closely at the plant it must be hard to judge its true status. I've only found C. alternifolia a couple of times in NE England...If you can get your hands on a Flora of Lancashire from your local library it will give you a better idea of how common it is locally. All the best, Phil

    ReplyDelete