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Nature Shorts

Walking along the river

One of my favourite things to do is to go for a walk along the River Breamish and see what kinds of natural things I can find. There’s always something new and interesting to discover, like a colourful flower, a fragrant herb, or a fungus. I often take pictures of them and then look them up online later to learn more about them. Other times I just enjoy them without feeling any need to record what I’ve seen.

When I last walked along the River Breamish a few days ago, I saw some grand oaks along the way. But I’d also seen some much smaller bits of nature:

Close-up photo of a musk mallow flower
Musk mallow
Fragrant musk mallow

The musk mallow is a common plant that can be seen growing in hedgerows, verges and along field margins during the summer. It gives off a distinctive but faint musky smell.

Close-up photo of thistle heads
Thistle heads
A close-up photo of a purple thistle head
A closer look at a purple thistle head

Thistles are characterised by leaves with sharp prickles on their edges. [For an explanation of ‘prickles’ see Dog Rose.] As well as looking beautiful when in flower, thistles are a great nature resource – feeding pollinators, providing seeds for birds, thistle down to line birds’ nests, a place for butterflies to lay their eggs, and more.

So, that’s a couple of plants and now for…not a plant:

Close-up photo of a puffball
Puffball (definitely not a plant!)

This 2.5cm diameter puffball was growing in a field frequented by sheep along the side of the river. Puffballs are typically seen between July – November and are a common sight in our countryside. And remember…fungi are not plants.

Choose only one master—nature.

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