We’re now another five days through this year’s 30 Days Wild, and I’m still going strong. Here are my five most recent Random Acts of Wildness.
Day 11: meet a plant – White Bryony
For day 11 of 30dayswild I spent some time with a little plant growing on the grassy verge beside the lane.
This is White Bryony.
Despite it’s pretty greenish-white flowers, it is actually a poisonous plant and will cause diarrhoea if consumed. It can be found in some old herbals as a remedy for constipation, but was long ago abandoned due to its overly explosive effects!
In autumn it produces berries that ripen from green, through orange, and into a deep crimson. These then remain through Winter. It’s a climbing plant and will produce curling tendrils that I always find fascinating to photograph.
The root of the Bryony plant bears a slight resemblance to that of the Mandrake, a much rarer plant with a man-shaped root that was much sought after. As it was far easier to find than Mandrake, swindlers would carve the Bryony root into the correct shape and pass it off as Mandrake – with disastrous results for the purchaser!
Because of its link with Mandrake, its roots are said to scream when they’re pulled out of the ground. Symbolically, it’s said to be an ambivalent plant, able to bring good luck and happiness, but just as easily able to take it away. It’s flowers alone, however, are said to embody prosperity and support.
It was a fascinating plant to spend some time with.
Day 12: draw a bee
For day 12 I spent some time with a bee that was enjoying the knapweed at the bottom of the meadow. The best thing about knapweed is that a bee will spend along time on a single blossom. I drew the first picture whilst sitting on the meadow path; the second once I arrived home, based on one of the many pictures that I took whilst in the meadow. The wings were what really caught my attention.
Day 13: barefoot in the meadow
bare feet connect with
conducting a healing flow
Day 14: meet a plant – Dove’s-foot Crane’s-bill
For day 13 I spent some time with a plant that is a relative newcomer in the meadow. This is, I think, Dove’s-foot Cranesbill, a type of wild geranium. The picture of it was drawn in my new little notebook, a mysterious gift that was left on my doorstep yesterday.
Dove’s-foot Cranes-bill is commonly found growing on dry grassland, lawns, cultivated land (especially among arable crops) and waste ground. It self-seeds really easily, with one plant able to blast hundreds of seeds out to the space around it. It particularly likes to germinate on bare ground. This might be a nightmare for someone with a pristine garden, but in a wild space like the meadow, it’s great.
The flowers can be anywhere from a deep pink to white. The ones I found were a beautifully delicate pale pink. Ecologically, it attracts lots of butterflies and bees, and is particularly important for the tiny Brown Argus butterfly, whose larval stage feed on Dove’s foot Cranes-bill.
Herbally, the plant has strong astringent properties and has historically been used for the treatment of colic, gout, aching joints and muscle pains, and to assist in the healing of bruises, cuts and open wounds. Today, Cranesbill is used in liquid extracts and infusions to relieve piles, internal bleeding and diarrhea. It has also been found to have anti-bacterial and anti-mutagenic properties.
All in all, it’s a lovely plant to have moved in to the meadow.
Day 15: draw a meadow view
For day fifteen’s Random Act of Wildness I took my tin of pencil crayons down to the meadow where I sat and drew a meadow view. This week seems to have involved a lot of drawing!
This little turquoise bug – possibly a Green Nettle Weevil – made its way onto my sketchpad as I drew. I laid my pad down on the path and let it climb off into the plants. It then promptly hid from me in the Bird’s-foot trefoil.
We’re now past the half-way mark but it’ never too late to join in with 30 Days Wild. There’s still 15 days to go!