Unusual Flora Activity for early November

As we were out in the woods yesterday (1st November 2011) we noticed a few items that continue to be out of character for the time of year.
Meadowsweet Filipendula Ulmaria –in flower, this is unusual as it should be flowering in July.

This plant smells divine and historically was thrown on floors to provide a pleasant aroma, indeed the dried flowers are used in pot pourri. Medicinally the plant has been used to treat excess stomach acid, and when the root is crushed it smells a little of germolene.

We also noticed that the male catkins on the Hazel tree were also out.

You can usually see them forming Jan/Feb although December is not too rare. These catkins usually open in February and have been considered one of the first signs of spring as they will open before the leaves form in the canopy. (There are numerous sources that suggest you should tap the silver birch when the hazel buds are as long as a squirrels toe).

The female flowers are tiny and red, and even though they appear on the same branch of the tree (or strictcly speaking shrub) it is classed as self incompatable, and so relies on the the wind for pollination to take place between two different trees.

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