This is the difficult time of year to find a flower of the month. Last year I went for the Autumn Crocus and this year I have seen lots of them flowering along the side roads through wooded areas in Poitou-Charentes. However we can’t use the same flower two years running. I have spotted another flower which is quite easy to see as you are driving along and this is the wild version of the garden flower called Golden Rod.
My father used to grow Golden Rod and Michaelmas daisies in his garden when I was a small boy. I liked them (especially the Michaelmas daisies) because they did attract the butterflies, which I used to like to catch and along with many others at that time, I used to add them to my collection. In those days if you were interested in wild life you made collections, birds eggs, moths, pressed flowers, beetles, butterflies, etc. They were pinned out with their wings nicely displayed and a pin through their head and neatly labelled and in a box. All the better if it was a rarity! We never gave a thought to conservation or biodiversity in those days.
So this is Solidago vigaurea and I have seen them growing in two quite different places. They are often found on the edges of woods, in areas that look as if they might be quite wet in Spring and Autumn. The other place I have seen them which is quite different, is on the back edge of sand dunes, again close to trees but in this case conifers, however in what is quite a dry environment. The sand dune specimens look quite a lot smaller and spindly than the inland woodland specimens as you would expect. It is the case that quite a few species will grow on both sand dunes and in land, like Ladies bedstraw, forget-me-not and corn salad and they do like quite different. However I do wonder if I am seeing two different but related species, one growing on the edge of woods and one growing on the dunes.
The photos here are from woodland plants and show a typical compositae flower with ray florets and central reproductive florets. Each flower in it self is not much to write home about but collectively they look quite attractive.
To view other flowers from Poitou-Charentes click here.