The thistle flower heads are all beginning to die as the flowers turn to the light downy material that floats through the air on the breeze, sparking interest in the natural world for many children as they rush around trying to catch the "fairies" (I've done this plenty of times :) to make a wish on.
But they are also useful for a different kind of sparking; they are excellent for use as a tinder. The down catches a spark easily and flares up quickly, perfect for use when trying to ignite coarser tinder materials, such as dried grass. I have also used it on the two rare occasions where I have got an ember from the bowdrill to enlarge the ember; some thistledown placed in the centre of the tinder bundle makes it so much easier to get a flame. This is just an example of how plants that are considered a bane on gardens by others can be useful for others.
Wednesday, 9 July 2014
This is an interesting little plant. It's very common around where I live and can be boiled in water to make a very nice sweet-smelling drink, tasting similar to chamomile. Great for a quick hot drink while you're out, I find it almost everywhere.
It has very distinctive leaves and flowers, making it very easy to identify. There are no petals on the flower heads, and the plant tends to grow in groups that can cover large areas. Mostly found by roadsides. This lot in the picture cover half of my driveway.
|Unmistakable yellow flowers and distinctive leaves|