Sunday, March 17, 2013

Goldfinches and Teasels

The photograph above taken on 08/03/13, shows a Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis feeding on wild Teasels Dipsacus fullonum that I have grown in my garden. I have three Nyger Seed feeders in the garden that Goldfinches used to visit regularly, but now they seem to prefer the Teasels or the Sunflower heart feeders.

Teasel is a biennial plant. In the first year a large rosette of pale green prickly leaves is formed and in the second the thick flowering stem, branched and spiny, grows up to two metres tall, with stalkless, paired stem leaves that collect water.

Teasels make excellent plants for the wildlife minded gardener, as they are a good nectar source for bees and as already seen above, a winter seed source for birds. Please go out and buy a couple.

Monday, March 11, 2013


This tall, erect, deciduous aquatic plant has broad, lance-shaped, grey-green leaves and is known as the Bulrush Typha latifolia. It flowers in June and July, and the long 'poker-like' brown seed head has no gap in it between the male and female parts. The seed heads begin to break up in the autumn, and then become downy as in the photograph above, taken on 19/02/13. These seed heads are then dispersed by the wind.
Bulrush is invasive in shallow water and it should only be grown in ponds where deep water will limit its spread. This plant is also known as reedmace.

Blue tits and more specialist seed-eating birds are often attracted to the large flower-heads, and the stems can harbour the larvae of the Bulrush Wainscott moth Nonagrea typhae, Webb’s moth Archanara sparganii and Rush Wainscot moth Archanara algae. Several species of bug and beetle overwinter in the dead leaf sheaths.