July – what’s out and about

Oak fern – Gymnocarpium dryopteris. Oak fern is easily identified by its delicate, triangular fronds, which are usually held nearly horizontal.

Beech fern – Phegopteris connectilis. A key identification feature is that the bottom 2 leaves / pinnae point backwards down the stem � reflex. It is the only arctic fern that does this.

Cowberry – Vaccinium vitis-idaea. This is not a common heath plant. It is found on moorland, including high ground above the heather line. Evergreen creeping shrub. Leaves have gland-dots on underside and are often slightly notched at tip.

Alpine clubmoss – Diphasiastrum alpinum. Lives in an open, tundra habitat. It is a poor competitor with faster growing grasses etc but has survived well due to grazing pressure maintaining a low vegetation height. Now mainly found in areas of exposed soil close to paths where trampling pressure keeps grasses down and keep an open area. The glaucous colour is not found in any other clubmoss.

Roseroot – Rhodiola rosea. Found in craggy mountain environments. Roseroot has been used for more than 3000 years as a folk remedy, and recent research in a number of countries has confirmed many of the plant�s medical benefits. Extracts are made from rhizomes and roots. It is known to be a libido booster for both woman and men (natural Viagra). It also helps improve memory and the immune system and stabilizes cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Its roots smell of roses and have been used as shampoo.

Tormentil – Potentilla erecta. A perennial plant found throughout Britain, Europe, western Asia and North Africa in pastures, open woods and moorlands, particularly on light acid soils. It hugs the ground beneath other ground cover, and its leaves have the classic ‘cinquefoil’ shape. Its rhizomatous root is thick and has been used to treat a number of ailments (to stop bleedings or against diarrhea), for food in times of need and to dye leather red.

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