Species of the Month - July

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 a member of the daisy family with the delightful country name of Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon. (Tragopon pratensis). True to its name the flower closes at midday inside the long pointed bracts. It also closes at the approach of rain.

Jack is also notable for his elaborate seed head or “clock” which persists for some time after the flower has faded. The long silky hairs on the seed head have given it the alternative country name, and perhaps less flattering, of Goatsbeard. 

The roots of the plants were in the past eaten raw in salads or cooked and served like parsnips. It has been found to contain a substance called inulin which is beneficial to diabetics.

Jack-go-to-bed-at noon can be found at the Station Road entrance to School Common. The clock was photographed in the afternoon and it can be seen that the flower head just beneath it to the left is firmly closed.

More pictures and information can be found on the  British Wild Plant  website.

Click here to see the other Species of the Month in 2018.

Click here to see the Species of the Month for last year, or here for 2016's Plants of the Month.