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Wildflowers in Widford

This piece was written by a Mrs V I Daintree sometime in the past. We do not know who she is – apart from having the surname of a known Widford family – or when she wrote about the village wildflowers. Maybe there are readers out there who can tell us?

wild-flowerWITH ITS HEDGEROWS, streams and woods, its pastures and cornfields, Widford provides ample opportunity for the study of wildflowers, and altogether about 250 varieties can be found. Some are rare like toothwort and broomrape, both parasites growing on the roots of trees. The green hellebore, the beautiful butterfly orchid and its close and insignificant relation, the twayblade, the dainty crimson vetchling, herb Paris, the star thistle and henbane are other uncommon plants.

January makes a slow start with hazel catkins and dog’s mercury in the woods, followed later by golden dandelion, celandine and coltsfoot. The pink of elm and alder catkins show along the river. Towards the end of March great blue and white patches of violets appear on the railway banks, the first primrose and delicate wind flowers are coming out in the woods, the blackthorn bushes and wild plum are smothered in white blossom, and the bees are busy round the pussy palm. In banks and hedgerows many common plants can be found – red and white deadnettle, groundsel, shepherd’s purse, ground ivy, chickweed and Jack-in-the-hedge with its strong smell of garlic. With the warmer weather the flowers appear thick and fast, amongst them cowslips (or peggles as they are called locally), daisies and buttercups.