Tag Archives: yellow

A woodland wander in search of Wood Avens

There is no better time to enjoy the beauty of our woods than after a spell of Summer rain. The new season’s greenery is washed clean and refreshed. The dark, wet tree trunks contrast strongly with the bright greens of early Summer leaves. The air is laden with the delicious earthy scents of damp woodland, mingled with the fragrance of ‘green’. Did you know you could smell ‘green’? In damp woodlands in June, I am sure you can.

Beechwoods in June after rain
Beechwoods in June after rain

As well as enjoying the woods and their glories generally, on this occasion I was watching out for one particular woodland flower, the Wood Avens Geum urbanum (also known as Herb Bennet). Last week, when I was giving you the answers to my fun plant quiz, I discovered that somehow I did not have any photographs of this very common woodland flower. Hopefully, we would be able to rectify this situation.

Wood Avens growing by woodland path
A bank of Wood Avens growing by a woodland path

Soon after entering the woods, we were spotting Wood Avens growing beside the woodland paths. Their delicate yellow flowers dotted the path-side greenery.

Wood Avens (Herb Bennet)
Wood Avens (Herb Bennet)

Here you can see the Wood Avens plant, nestled in amongst the grasses with its bright yellow flower.

Wood Avens (Herb Bennet) flower
Wood Avens (Herb Bennet) – a closer look at the flower

Here’s a closer look at the Wood Avens flower. The yellow petals are very fragile and look as if they may blow away at any moment.

Wood Avens (Herb Bennet) seedhead
Wood Avens (Herb Bennet) – red hooked seedhead

The Wood Avens flower only lasts a brief time before the red hooked seedhead develops. The seedheads are rather more robust and will stay around across the Summer. The hooks of the ripe seeds would enable them to hitch a ride on a passing animal and so spread the flower seeds further.

Clover leaf raindrop face
Clover leaf raindrop face

Later on our woodland walk, I spotted this little Woodland Spirit resting on a Red Clover leaf. Can you see him too? 🙂

J Peggy Taylor

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Yellow Signs of Autumn in the Woods

Yellowing bracken in late September
Sunlight through yellowing bracken in late September

After my surprise and delight at being selected by Cee as one of her Featured Bloggers for my post in last week’s Fun Foto Challenge on the colour blue, this week I have looked for yellow signs of Autumn in my favourite environment, the woods.

When we took a Sunday stroll in one of our local woods last weekend, we could certainly see Autumn is upon us. Yellowing bracken and yellowing leaves were all around us.

Yellowing bramble leaves on the woodland floor
Yellowing bramble leaves on the woodland floor

The Autumn leaf colours that we all so enjoy are a very visible sign that the trees and plants have done their work and are approaching their Winter’s rest. The changing colour we observe is part of the chemical process in the leaves that we know as photosynthesis.

The lower levels of sunlight and cooler temperatures of Autumn mean the leaves are no longer able to produce chlorophyll, the pigment that paints the leaves green in Spring and Summer. As the chlorophyll is used up by the leaf for food and the leaf is no longer able to produce more, we observe the green of the leaf fading to yellow.

The yellow colour is provided by the carotene that has also been present in the leaf but in Spring and Summer is not visible to us under the green cloak of the chlorophyll. We learned all this and more on the changing colours of Autumn leaves from this fascinating Woodland Trust information leaflet.

Yellow sign of tree-felling time
Yellow signs of tree-felling time

The signs of the approaching time of rest for the trees gives rise to another kind of sign in the woods too – Tree Felling time! Autumn and Winter are the seasons for a lot of woodland maintenance work. The woodland you see in my images in this post is currently undergoing a restoration plan. The ancient woods that once cloaked our valley have largely disappeared as farmland, villages and commercial forestry took over.

There is now a move to try and restore some of the remaining woodlands to their former glory, especially in woods such as this one, where small pockets of the ancient woodland remain. With careful planning it is possible to remove the commercial plantation plantings and facilitate the regrowth of indigenous tree and understorey species. We have already seen how successful this can be in other parts of this wood.

Yellow sign - tree-felling time in 'Mirkwood'
Yellow sign – tree-felling time in ‘Mirkwood’

When we visited these woods on Sunday we saw the tree felling signs were in place, ready to remove the fully grown Norway Spruce trees from an area of the wood our children have known as ‘Mirkwood’. If you’re a Tolkein fan, you will recall instantly that dark, dense forest from The Hobbit. So, although we know the restoration of ancient woodland will be wonderful in the long run, it is with a tinge of sadness that we see this part of a childhood play area being felled. Perhaps we can recognise this as a sign of our children growing up too – though I doubt they will ever grow out of building dams in woodland streams or having pine cone battles between the trees!

This post links to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge with the theme of ‘Yellow’ and the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme of ‘Signs’. Do take a look at the yellows and signs that others have found for us this week’s challenges.

J Peggy Taylor