Early summer in the Caledonian pinewoods

The early summer flowers are really coming into bloom now at Glenmore.

There are masses of Greater Stichwort (Stellaria holostea) in bloom at the woodland edge among the grasses,

Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea)

The name of the plant derives from its use with acorns to cure a ‘stitch’. Personally I think if you stop running to pick the flowers and boil them, etc, that will cure your stitch! Another common name is ‘thunder flower’ as it was believed if the flower was picked it would summon thunder storms. The plant was considered to be a remedy for broken bones since its stems are so fragile then this must be a sign that they were to have that medicinal use.

On a walk on Sunday we watched a Green-veined butterfly flitting around the Germander Speedwell in the sunshine.

Green-veined White on Germander Speedwell

Later that day when wandering through the pine and birch woods on our survival shelter building session we came across several patches of Chickweed Wintergreen This is a strange name, because it is neither a chickweed nor a wintergreen! I much prefer it’s Scandinavian name, Arctic Starflower.

Chickweed Wintergreen (Trientalis europaea)

Chickweed Wintergreen (Trientalis europaea)

Chickweed wintergreen (Trientalis europaea) is quite rare in the British Isles. In Scotland it is either found just occasionally or can be locally very common. Where found in Scottish woodland, the type will mostly be mossy pine woodland as it was here.

Fiddleheads of both bracken and fern are uncurling and producing more green growth in the birch woods.

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Fern fiddlehead

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The fiddleheads of both fern and bracken are considered something of a delicacy in some parts of the world. The Japanese, for instance, often dine on the young bracken sprouts, however bracken, while edible, is also highly toxic. Some ferns contain carcinogens, and Bracken has been implicated in stomach cancer. Despite this, most people can eat ostrich and cinnamon fern fiddleheads without any problems, but it is not something I’m going to try.

On our return to the campsite we watched this wee chap happily having dinner from one of the feeders provided by the seasonal campers. We are fortunate to see red squirrels each day in or around the campsite.

Red squirrel

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3 comments on “Early summer in the Caledonian pinewoods

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