Wednesday, 19 March 2014

A Wednesday Worisit




These rather striking alien creatures stopped me in my tracks last week or rather caused himself to bring the car to an abrupt halt, so that I could leap out and take a few photos. There were a few clumps of them growing alongside the road up in the Cumbrian fells. I've done some research and have some thoughts on what they might be but thought that it would be fun to share the photos first. Hopefully somebody will confirm my thoughts on identification or prompt me to reach for the books and explore Google again.

Whatisit - update. Thanks for all your suggestions. Petasites japonicus or butterbur was the most popular. My guesses at identification initially followed the same line of thought. I got off to a head start by accident when catching up with the February edition of 'The Garden', which included an excellent article on 'Scents of the season'. Petasites fragrans was featured as one of the plants which provides scent in winter. The flower looked very similar so from there I looked into the genus further. However I could not reconcile the leaves on the plants I saw with petasites japonicus, the leaves of which looked much bigger, more rounded and a different colour. Even allowing for changes as the plant matures I was not convinced. I've come to the same conclusion as Wellywoman that it is petasites albus or white butterbur. This is a native of mountainous parts of Europe and south west Asia and was introduced to the UK in the late 1600s. It is more commonly found in the north of the UK where grows in woodlands, beside streams and by the side of roads. Google also kindly confirmed that this plant has been sighted near Cartmel which is where we came across it. I most annoyed with myself though for not bending down to detect if there was any scent from these flowers. Will have to persuade himself to return next year.

15 comments:

  1. They could be Petasites japonicus Anna. Curious looking things aren't they?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't have a clue what they are but I'll be interested to find out.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This looks like a plant ID which also came up on Twitter a few weeks ago Anna, so I think it's butterbur? It's the source of those amazing huge jungly leaves which often lines stream banks and other boggy places in the summer

    ReplyDelete
  4. It looks like a Japanese Butterbur aka Petasites Japonicus http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Japanese_Butterbur_(Petasites_japonicus)_-_geograph.org.uk_-_726083.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looks like a white butterbur to me. It's related to the winter heliotrope I did a blog post on a few years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Haven't the foggiest idea - at least, I hadn't, so I looked at pictures of Petasites japonicus and it does look . . . well, that could be it. (Sweet Coltsfoft / Giant Butterbur). (Now you'll tell us it's a peanut plant!)

    ReplyDelete
  7. My first thought was Mignonette.

    ReplyDelete
  8. No idea - they really do look alien! Do let us know what they are!

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's Petasites japonicus; it has huge leaves in summer. It is very decorative but incredibly invasive as I found to my cost in a previous garden.

    ReplyDelete
  10. https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/species/petasites/japonicus/
    That cute little thing - gets truly frightening. I thought it was only Gunnera that grew humungous leaves.

    ReplyDelete
  11. It is P. japonicus indeed. Lovely plant, I had it as ground cover underneath our beech trees in Ireland but cave! It's quite a determined creature!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks so much for all your comments and suggestions. Although petasites japonicus was the most popular I'm with Wellywoman's suggestion of petasites albus or white butterbur. I've now added a short update to the post with some information about this plant. Esther, I can say with some certainty that it's not a peanut plant :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I saw what I think is the same plant growing alongside a stream at RHS Harlow Carr it had me wondering so I think I'll email them for identification.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I emailed Harlow Carr and they came straight back with Petasites japonicus.

      Delete
  14. Thanks for letting me know Sue. I'm still with Wellywoman and her suggestion of petasites albus or white butterbur but am going to do some more research and will do an update post in the future.

    ReplyDelete

All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.