Willowherbs

One rare spot of colour amongst the summer greenery of Credenhill Wood this August were these pink flowers.  I think it is some sort of Willowherb; there are a lot of different varieties. It looked most like a Broad Leafed Willowherb to me, but they are supposed to frequent marshy land, so I shall keep it vague.photo of willowherb flower

There were great clumps of them beside the path competing with the nettles. Willowherbs seem to be considered a weed in gardens. Due to the rapidity with which they colonized bomb craters during WWII in the UK, some varieties became known as “bombweed”.

photo of willowherb plantsApparently Native Americans used to eat them as they are a source of vitamins A and C, supplement dog food with them and treat wounds with them. The Alaskans use them to sweeten food and the Russians use them as a tea substitute. Willowherb has also been used in Europe as a herb to treat digestive and urinary disorders.

Perhaps more usefully it is a food source for many varieties of moth caterpillars.

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