Brought to you once more from Enid Blyton’s Nature Lover’s Book.
- This month’s flowers are a bit more jolly and there are a lot more of them to tell you about. In my first edition the March flowers cover two pages. Around about now, spring is rearing its pretty head with some momentum behind it and we’re waving goodbye to winter. Before I start on the descriptions of the flowers, I need to draw your attention to a note from the great lady herself in regards to one of
- the lesser celandine. “The lesser celandine must be looked for this month, if the weather was too cold in February.” And as February was pretty cold, I think we can include the Less Celandine in March’s list of flowers to find.
Primrose: In woods and on hedge-banks this pale yellow, pretty little flower may be found by the hundred in the early spring. The flower is in the shape of a tube, opening out into lemon-yellow petals. Sometimes you will find the stamens peeping out of the top of the tube, sometimes you will find that you cannot see them because they are half-way down the tube. Look at the rosette of crinkly leaves. The crinkles help the rain to run away outside the plant, acting as water-channels. If the raindrops ran to the centre, the damp would harm the new buds, which are delicate and fragile.
Wood anemone or windflower: The woods are full of this dainty flower in the spring. It has six delicate white sepals not petals. Sepals, as you know, are usually green but in this flower they are white, and look like petals, though actually the anemone has no petals. These sepals are sometimes tinged with pink or purple. The leaves are cut up into leaflets. The wood anemone is given the pretty name of windflower because of its read response to the slightest breeze. It is a beautiful sight to see hundreds of these dainty flowers nodding and blowing in the March wind, never still for a moment.
Sweet violet: This white or purple, fragrant little flower is known to every boy and girl. It can be easily found under hedges or in the woods. Look at the spur behind the flower. Notice the pretty heart-shaped leaves, and see how large they become after the plant has flowered. The plant can spread itself by means of runners as well as seeds. It sends out long stalks which root themselves in the ground nearby, producing leaves and becoming complete new plants.
Coltsfoot: This golden flower belongs to the dandelion family and is often mistaken for the small dandelion. It has no leaves when the flowers come. Look for the scaly stalks, which are rather woolly. Later on you must look for the rather big leaves, shaped roughly like a colt’s foot print. They are very cotton-woolly at first.
Blackthorn: This is a very common shrub to be found in the hedge and in the copse in the early spring. The branches are very thorny. The beautiful white flowers come out before the leaves, and show up well on the black twigs. Late in the year the little purple-black sloes grow on the blackthorn. (The readthorn is the hawthorn – find twigs of the two and compare them.) Bring sprigs of blackthorn into the house in bud, put them in a vase in a warm room, and watch the starry flowers open out and decorate the black twig.
Gorse: Although golden blooms can be found in the gorse all year round, it is not until March that is begins to put out many flowers. Most children know the yellow, sweet-pea-shaped flower, and have smelt its strong, pleasant smell. The leaves have all been changed into sharp spines. Gorse may be found in any open space, such as moors, cliffs, or commons. If it grows where sheep graze, you will find it nibbled into curious close cushions. Notice the pretty butterfly-shaped flowers, the wings longer than the keel. The gorse has no nectar. When insects alight on the wings, the keel is pressed down and open suddenly so that the stigma and stamens are pressed against the under-part of the insect.
Daisy: The daisy does not open in great numbers until April and May, but many can be found now. All boys and girls know the pretty “day’s-eye flower”, with its golden centre, and white, pink-tipped petals. Notice the firm little rosette at the bottom.
So there you all are. Eight wonderful flowers to find in March when our British weather is hopefully a little more agreeable to long walks and flower hunting.