Abbey Meadows

Abbey Meadows

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Northumberland's county flower!


Herb paris...Cottingwood.

The county flower of Northumberland is Bloody Cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum). A good choice, it is a beautiful plant and its flowers brighten up the coastal dunes throughout the Summer months. However, I personally believe that Northumberland's county flower should have been Herb Paris (Paris quadrifolia). Two main reasons, the first being it was discovered by the 16th century botanist William Turner who lived in Morpeth and at that time it was a flower new to Britain...'Libardbayne or one bery...in a wodde beyside Morpeth called Cottingewood'. (Turner 1548). The second reason was that to this day the plant can still be found growing in the very spot Turner discovered it. It is a poisonous plant and it was also known as Herb truelove. Turner discovered several new species including Great Broomerape and other great Northumberland botanists discovered plants new to Britain from the county such as Spignel, Seaside Centaury and Dwarf Cornel. True explorers and pioneers!

7 comments:

Dean said...

Great pics of a great flower Nigel and one i`ve never seen.

abbey meadows said...

Thanks Dean. I'm a bit biased, there are plenty of plants that could be the county flower. Lanarkshire's county plant is Young's Helloborine..a plant first discovered in Northumberland! I wonder what your plant is Dean.

Peter said...

How stange that herb paris is such a late discovery - or is it that lots of plats were being documented for the first time at this point?

abbey meadows said...

I think Peter many plants were known and used for their properties. Turner was told about Spignel (Meum athamanticum) as local people were using the roots of this plant but when described it was a plant that no herbalists knew about at that time. Turner said 'I never sawe thys herbe in Englande sauynge once at saynte Oswarldes (St Oswalds Haven fields)where the inhabiters call it Spiknel'(1548).

Stewart said...

I saw loads of Herb Paris in Slovakia! Still not seen one here though. As for Barren Strawberry, my garden is happed up with it....

Dean said...

Nigel, in answer to your question, Yorkshire`s county flower is the Harebell.

abbey meadows said...

Thanks Dean...Stewart I've only seen them at two sites in the county at Morpeth and Longwitton Dene but they are also found at Felton which is a bit closer to you.