Walk the riverbank between Gallows Hill and Knotford Nook at the moment, and the distinctive spiky brown seed-heads of the Teasel are easy to spot on their tall stalks. Goldfinches love to extract the seeds from these. Teasel used to be harvested, so that the seed-heads could be used in the textile industry to tease out the fibres on fabrics such as wool. Interestingly, studies suggest teasel is in a sense carnivorous. It collects rainwater in the cups formed where the leaves meet the stem. It then absorbs nutrients from the insects that die in that water. My Oxford Dictionary of Plant Lore tells me that this water was thought to have various medicinal qualities, especially in the treatment of sore eyes.
Photos by Pixabay and Neil Griffin