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Un noticed and most probably unloved?

Un noticed and most probably unloved?

According to Rich 1991, Hedge Mustard Sisymbrium officinale is

‘A weed of gardens, roadsides, arable land, waste ground, etc, usually associated with habitation or man. One of the commonest crucifers in Britain and Ireland…’ (p110)

Not only is it common its relatively easy to identify

‘The small, appressed fruits are very distinctive. Hirschfeldia incana is the only other yellow crucifer with appressed fruits of a similar size…’ (Rich p 110)

Sketches and leaves of Sisymbrium officinale

Sketches and leaves of Sisymbrium officinale

Of course early in the season the fruits are very small. The drawing above was done in late May.

S officinale; fruit, flowers and upper leaves

S officinale; fruit, flowers and upper leaves

By early June the long stems of appressed fruit are much more apparent, although not yet ripe. The transverse section shows the transparent septum that divides the rows of still developing seed.

But what interests me most about this plant is the amazing shape of the hairs on the underside of the upper leaf stalks (I have not looked at the other leaves yet). So even though its a common plant that doesn’t mean it can’t hold a few surprises.

I think that’s what motivates me about looking at plants (and other wildlife) is that its a personal journey of discovery. And what’s more you don’t have to leave your immediate surroundings to find something truly remarkable.

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