Flowers in July

Flowers in July

In July  wild and garden flowers are abundant. These photos were all taken during July 2020 and include 5 garden flowers and 5 wild flowers.

Agapanthus ‘Headbourne Hybrids’ is a cultivar, raised in the 1940s in a garden at Headbourne Worthy in Hampshire. There are  a large number of cultivars on sale. ‘Headbourne Hybrids’ came from South Africa in a mixed pack of seeds in the 1940s.

 

Achillea ‘Red Velvet’  is a cultivar from Holland. Yarrow Achillea millefollium is a wild flower native to Britain.Many cultivars of Achillea have been developed for use as garden perennials. A. millefolium (e.g.Red Velvet) flowers are red, pink and white.

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Argentinian Vervain Verbena bonariensis is a tall hardy border perennial, native to South America. Bonariensis refers to Buenos Aires.  Bees and butterflies are attracted to the flowers which secrete nectar at the base of the ovary. First grown in Britain in 1726

Alstroemeria ‘Saturne’ is a fully hardy hybrid from Peru. The hybrids were created from Peruvian (winter growing) and Brazilian (summer growing) plants. Flowers produce  nectar  to attract the main pollinators which are bumble bees 

 

Common Centaury Centaurium erythraea is a member of the Gentian family. It is a wildflower  found in grassy places in England such as The Chilterns.

The Common Toadflax Linaria vulgaris is a wild flower native to Britain commonly found in fields, hedge banks and waste places

Common Ragwort Senecio jacobaea is a common grassland wild flower toxic to horses.

Clustered Bellflower Campanula glomerata is a native wild flower found in chalk grasslands in Britain and temperate Eurasia. 

Dark Mullein Verbascum nigrum  is a native wild flower found growing on chalky soil. It is common in Southern England and also found across Europe to Siberia.

Bear’s Breeches Acanthus mollis is an introduced species that grows wild in Cornwall but is planted in many gardens. 

Crocosmia

Crocosmia

Crocosmia, also known as Montbretia, are widely cultivated as perennial garden plants. There are over 400 varieties. ‘Lucifer’, shown below is an Alan Bloom hybrid. Crocosmia is a genus of about 7 species of  plants found in grasslands in South Africa.  They are protandrous with pollen released by anthers a few days before stigmas become receptive. Nectar is secreted by nectaries located in the wall of the ovary. They are pollinated by nectar-seeking sunbirds in South Africa but in the UK they attract long-tongued hoverflies searching for nectar. Flies have good colour vision but bees would not be attracted to a red flower.

crocosmia flowers

Individual tubular flowers are on long arching racemes opening from the base progressively. The green ovary is at the base of the flower just where it joins the brown stem.

crocosmia flowers close-up

The plant is a member of the Iris family which includes 2000 species in two main sub-families Crocoideae (Crocus, Crocosmia, Gladiolus and Freesia) and Iridoideae (Iris and Sisyrinchium).  All flowers in this family have only 3 stamens and one style which is usually 3-branched. 

crocosmia in a garden

The plant is a spectacular garden plant in Britain. It grows from corms, which are underground storage organs. New corms form annually and may split off  so the plant can spread and become invasive.

crocosmia flower

An individual flower  with most of the petals removed, showing the 3 stamens  with vertically opening anthers and  the 3-branched style

Bee Orchid

Bee Orchid

The Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera flowers in June and July. It is often difficult to find but unmistakable when seen. It is at the northern end of its range, which extends throughout central and southern Europe where it is pollinated by the Longhorn bee Eucera longicornis. The orchid is a sexual mimic – it has the appearance and smell of a female longhorn bee – but in Britain, since this bee is rare, the orchid self-pollinates. The bee orchid is common in southern and eastern Britain on lime. 

 

bee orchid flower

In the orchid family pollen is transferred to pollinators in packages known as pollinia which stick to the head or proboscis of the bee and are carried whole to another flower. The two yellow pollinia are located just below the green hood  and one can be seen in this photo on the end of a long yellow stalk. Darwin was the first to recognise that in Britain self-pollination was almost certain to occur because the stalks that support the pollinia were weak and allowed the pollinia to droop slowly over the sticky stigma below. If a suitable pollinator does not arrive, eventually the pollinia will stick to the female stigma and self-pollination will occur.

bee orchid flower

The flower of the orchid looks like a female bee and it sends out pheromones that smell like a female bee. When the male lands on what it thinks is the body of the bee the two pollinia (which can be seen just below the green hood)  stick to its head and as the bee flies off are carried to another flower.

bee orchid
The orchid is short, from 15 to 45cm tall and has 2 to 5 flowers arranged in a spike.
bee orchid flowers

Since Darwin, considerable research has revealed that not only does the orchid look like a bee, it also emits species-specific pheromones that mimic the  female Longhorn bee. 

Umbellifers in June

Umbellifers in June

Here are four plants that are in flower now – two garden plants and two wildflowers. They are all members of the Umbellifer family which includes the root vegetables carrot and parsnip, the herbs parsley, fennel, celery and dill,  decorative garden plants  such as eryngium and astrantia and wild flowers such as carrot, cow parsley, hogweed and pignut. The family name is based on the genus Apium which was first used in 50 AD to describe a celery-like plant such as Apium graveolens Wild Celery. Apium could mean ‘liked by bees’. The common name Umbellifer is from the arrangement of the flowers in a compound umbel – a main umbel branching into many partial umbels, as in the wild carrot.

Eryngium bourgatii

Mediterranean Sea Holly Eryngium bourgatii  is a popular garden plant.

Wild carrot

Wild Carrot Daucus carota has a single deep purple flower at its centre. Its function is unknown. It is a common wildflower that appears in June. The subspecies sativus is cultivated worldwide as a root crop.

Astrantia major

Great Masterwort Astrantia major was introduced to Britain in the 16th century and is a popular garden plant.

Heracleum spondylium.

Hogweed Heracleum spondylium is a common native wildflower that grows to a height of 2m in May or June. The Giant Hogweed Heracleum mantegazzianum was introduced from Asia as an ornamental but has escaped. It is found along river banks and can reach 7m in height. It should be avoided because its sap causes burns.

Dog Rose and Field Rose

Dog Rose and Field Rose

Two similar-looking native wild roses come into flower in June – the Dog Rose Rosa canina and the Field Rose Rosa arvensis. Identification is based on the way the two species differ in the arrangement of the stigmas at the centre of the flower. Neither species was significant in the development of the garden rose. It is estimated that there are over 200 rose species and up to 30,000 cultivars in the world. They are popular as garden and cut flowers and for use in the perfume and cosmetic industries. Most of the cultivars have been produced from less than 10 rose species.

The flowers of the Rose family always have some form of  hypanthium to enclose the ovaries. In Roses the hypanthium forms a deep cup which eventually becomes the red fruit known as the rose hip. Each ovary has a long style which ends in a stigma, the part of the flower that receives pollen. The pollen-releasing anthers protrude from the rim of the hypanthium. Pollinators visit the flowers to collect pollen. The flowers do not offer nectar. 

 

The Dog Rose is a  tall shrub, reaching 3m. Its petals are pink or white. It is the  most common native wild rose,  growing in woods, hedgerows and scrub in Britain, Europe, SW Asia and N Africa. It is pollinated by bees looking for pollen. It flowers in June and July.

The Field Rose is a native low growing shrub (1m) or climbs over other shrubs. Petals are always white. It is found in woods, hedgerows and scrub in Britain and Europe. It is pollinated by bees and other insects looking for pollen. It flowers in June and July.

The Dog rose hypanthium is  at the centre of this photo of the flower. A clump of  yellow  female stigmas sits on the top of the hypanthium. Numerous yellow anthers emerge from the rim of the hypanthium. The anthers  turn brown after releasing pollen. 

The Field Rose  has styles that are united into a column which emerges from the centre of the hypanthium with the stigmas in a clump at the top of the column. The Dog Rose, in comparison, has no column. Numerous yellow anthers emerge from the rim of the hypanthium, ready to release pollen.

Flowers in June

Flowers in June

In June most trees have finished flowering but wild and garden flowers are abundant. These photos were all taken on June 2nd or 3rd 2020 after a spring period which was the driest and sunniest on record. 

poppy flower

Common Poppy Papaver rhoeas. A native wild flower found on field edges and waste places through most of Britain. No nectar is secreted but insects are attracted by the copious pollen shed by the numerous anthers. Bees collect pollen by lying on their sides and draw the anthers between their legs to work pollen into their pollen baskets

Greater Knapweed flower

Greater Knapweed Centaurea scabiosa. A member of the Daisy family, the flowers of the Greater Knapweed  have central disc florets and sterile ray florets. Each disc floret first produces pollen, then becomes receptive to pollen and ultimately produces a seed.

Field Scabious flower

Field Scabious is a wild flower native to Britain and found in dry grassy places. It flowers from June to October and is visited by bees and butterflies.

lupin flowers

A Lupin hybrid in a garden.  Lupinus is a genus of more than 200 species found in North and South America and the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the Pea Family. European lupin species were introduced to Britain in the 14th century but superseded as garden flowers by introductions from America from the 17th century onwards.

Kniphofia inflorescence

Red Hot Poker Kniphofia uvariaThis species, originally from South Africa, produces tall spikes of red flower buds that open to form orange/yellow tubular flowers. It was introduced to Britain by Francis Masson in the 1770s. He had been sent by Kew on a plant-hunting trip to South Africa.

pyramidal orchid

The Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis is found throughout Britain on chalk grassland. It grows from a tuber and is in flower from June to August The flowers have a strong sweet smell. It is pollinated by moths and butterflies and has tiny flowers with long spurs which have no nectar, so the species is one of the ‘food-deceptive’ orchids.

Dog Rose flowers

The Dog Rose Rosa canina is a tall shrub, reaching 3m. Its petals are pink or white. It is the most common native wild rose, growing in woods, hedgerows and scrub in Britain, Europe, SW Asia and N Africa. It is pollinated by bees looking for pollen. It flowers in June and July. The beetle on the lower rose is a thick-legged flower beetle Oedemera nobilis. 

sainfoin flowers

Sainfoin Onobrychis viciifolia. Another member of the Pea family,  it is a native wildflower common to lime-based soils. Sainfoin is French for ‘healthy hay’. It was originally fed to cattle by farmers to keep cattle healthy but now is usually found in field edges.