Wildflowers in December? Well they are not obvious but if you look around there are still quite a few wildflowers that are still flowering. There are several reasons for this. The relatively mild and wet weather can fool some plants into thinking its Spring. OK I know they don’t think but you know what I mean. Then there are some which germinated after the long dry spell that lasted well into September and they are now struggling to produce a few flowers before the winter really sets in.
However there are a few flowers which do normally flower at this time of year, well they flower at any time of year including December. One of these is Groundsel and another is Chickweed. They are not spectacular but they are in flower now. Slightly more spectacular is Gorse the prickly bush and that can produce a few flowers at any time of year, the majority are produced in Spring but I have seen a few Gorse bushes in flower during December.
Anyway I have chosen Groundsel as my flower of the month for December. It is known as Common Groundsel or Senecio vulgaris. The word groundsel derives from its Anglo Saxon name which was Groundeswelge Grounde means Ground and Swelge means covering. Which is what this weed can do.
This plant is a member of the large group of plants known as Compositae which is as I have explained before in this series of posts a plant in which the flower is actually made up of many flowers all squeezed in together. Some of these composite flowers like the daisy are made up of two types of flowers, the ray florets which are on the outside and produce petals and the disc florets which are in the middle and are normally yellow and these produce the seed. In the case of Groundsel it only has the central disc florets which is why the flower is not that impressive.
Groundsel is poisonous to humans and some animals avoid it but others quite like it. I remember that my Father used to seek it out to feed to his budgerigars and exotic birds that he kept in a large aviary when I was a boy. They used to devour it with a passion.
If you want to know even more about Groundsel than what I have told you in this post then there is a website you can refer to and it is.http://hedgerowmobile.com/groundsel.html
To have a look at my other wildflower photos click Poitou-Charentes wildflowers.