What is this distinctive plant with black spots on it's leaves - named after a bird....or is it the other way around? Look out for the answer soon....
It is of course....redshank, or Persicaria maculosa, not to be confused with the bird known as redshank, Tringa totanus! You may have also heard of it referred to as redleg, ladysthumb or spotted ladysthumb.
A very common species throughout the UK and indeed at Langford, it is a coloniser of damp bare ground and so has thrived on the recently created footpaths around Phase 1. It is an annual and is characterised by lanceolate leaves, often with the dark blotch that you see in the photo, erect red coloured stems and spikes of small, overlapping pink flowers to be found from June - September. It can grow to 1m in height.
It is a native of Europe and Asia and is related to the bistorts - other related species occurring at Langford include amphibious bistort, Persicaria amphibia, pale persicaria, Persicaria lapathifolia and water-pepper, Persicaria hydropiper.
Does anyone know what was named first - the bird or the plant? Post any suggestions in the comments box below.