Friday, 22 January 2021

Winter Aconite

 In the depths of winter nothing lifts the heart like the sight of a clump of golden winter aconites. And in this dismal locked-down winter, with the world apparently going madder by the day and no sign of an end to it (though I live, as always, in hope), the heart is in dire need of lifting. 
The winter aconite is a flower that lives up to its name, even in Linnaean Greek (Eranthis hyemalis = spring flower of winter). It is in full bloom now, usually (as in the picture) around trees, in fairly open woodland or in parks and gardens: although it now feels like one of our native wildflowers, a cherished part of the familiar cycle of seasonal flowering, it is actually  a garden escape. Happily it is thriving, seizing its moment each winter before the tree canopy starts growing over and obscuring the sunlight, flowering gloriously, then dying back into its tuber, leaving not a trace behind. Enjoy it while it is here – and when you find some, the chances are you will find snowdrops too. 

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