Species of the Month - April 2017

Each month we feature a picture of a species to be found on The Commons. Wherever possible, all species featured have been photographed here. This month, we are featuring the Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris).

It has a host of common names. Notably Kingcup, but also May Blobs, Water-bubbles and the Publican.

One of our most ancient of native plants, it is thought to have survived the glaciations and then thrived in the cold meltwaters as the ice retreated. Although many of its favoured habitats have been drained, it can provide a stunningly colourful display in damp meadows, ditches and wooded streamsides on those dull days when Spring seems far away. As Shakespeare observed, "winking maybuds begin to open their golden eyes". The common name marigold refers to the flower's use in churches in medieval times when it was offered as a tribute to the Virgin Mary.

Marsh Marigolds are a welcome source of nectar for early hoverflies and bees. And whilst they have been used for human medicinal cures, such as for warts, caution is required as every part of the plant is poisonous. 

Look for it in the damper parts of the Common including amongst the alder carr along Fox's Beck. Also around the pond on Pit Common.

More pictures and information can be found on the Wildlife Trusts website.

Click here to see other Species of the Month, or here for last year's Plants of the Month.