The cold snap has slowed the early show of flowers between Moorhaven and Green Lane so I have been looking further afield.

There was a patch of Dog’s Mercury in flower near Cheston and some early umbellifers at Hillhead near Ugborough, including Burnet Saxifrage and Hogweed, and also a clump of Common Comfrey near the Uggies football pitch.

Umbellifers can be tricky to tell apart. I plan to do a detailed guide when more are flowering. From the photos, you can see that Hogweed has coarse and distinctively shaped leaves, while the characteristic feature of Burnet Saxifrage is that the fine, deeply cut leaves at the top of the stem are quite different from the more rounded leaves near the base.

Gorse manages to flower most of the year round. Despite its sharp prickles, it is an important food source for Dartmoor ponies as the new shoots are rich in protein.




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