Flanders Moss NNR
Some of our first flowers are appearing in the Flanders wildflower meadow by the car park and the most obvious is some coltsfoot. A slightly odd looking plant, it has at the moment a bright yellow flower a bit like an all yellow daisy. The flower is on a tall robust flower stem that has green scales on it which serve as leaves early in the season. Later proper leaves come which are in the shape of a hoof print of a small horse hence its English name – coltsfoot. The Scottish name of tushylucky is a corruption of its latin name Tussilago farfara and is related to the latin tussis – to cough. This is a reference to its medicinal properties and at one time it was used to cure many health problems, but care is needed because more recent research have showed that it also has high levels of the toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids which can cause serve liver problems. So beware.
For Flanders Moss the flowers, and there are lots out, offer an early nectar source for insects as well as being the food plants for caterpillars stunning moths such as the small angle shades and the Gothic.