Rye Meads has a rich and varied flora, with more than 230 species of plants recorded to date. This in part reflects the different conditions from dry former industrial land to marsh and water habitats. There are also many garden shrubs and trees in particular which were planted when Treatment Works was first laid out, many of which have ‘gone wild’.
The gallery below documents some of the wildflowers and other plants photographed at Rye Meads. Gallery of flora
(Click on an image to enlarge)
There are usually one or two Bee Orchids in the mown verges of the Reserve paths (Roger Emmens)
The cottage garden Scabious was bred from our native Field Scabious, usually found close to the RSPB Centre. (Roger Emmens)
Meadow Crane’s-bill is so called because of the shape of its seeds. It is a relative of the Geranium. (Roger Emmens)
Water Mint grows in shallow water and has the disctinctive minty odour when its leaves are rubbed. (Roger Emmens)
Bristly Oxtongue is a common weed of gardens as well as at Rye Meads (Roger Emmens)
Common Fleabane is so called because it was thought that the smoke from burning its leaves drove away fleas.
Common Ragwort is often found in pasture but is toxic to horses and cattle. It is the food plant for Cinnabar Moth, whose yellow and black striped caterpillars are often found on it. (Roger Emmens)
Ploughman’s Spikenard, one of many species with yellow flowers and fluffy seedheads for wind dispersal (Roger Emmens)
The Welted Thistle is distinguished by dense prickles that also grow on the stems (Roger Emmens)
Tall Melilot was originally introduced into the UK as a fodder plant and is now quite widely naturalised. (Roger Emmens)
Weld was formerly widely grown for the yellow dye extracted from its leaves, which was used in the Middle Ages mixed with blue from Woad to produce Lincoln Green. (Roger Emmens)
White Campion, one of several Campion species at Rye Meads.
White Comfrey is one of three Comfrey species at Rye Meads, the others being Common Comfrey which is pink, and Russian Comfrey which is blue. (Roger Emmens)
One of the wild rose species at Rye Meads is the Sweet Briar, identified by its bright pink single flowers. There are also some old domestic roses running wild! (Roger Emmens)