March in Flower: Sweet Archangel

Everything in nature is a cog that spins on something else. A little signpost, if you will. Last month, I was visiting a site on the South Coast when a wren trilled and a rabbit bolted from the hedgerow. Not random, not meaningless – they were set in motion by a force unseen.

Then it emerged!

Stoat NF 13 Feb

Stoat, known as short-tailed weasel in North America. I very rarely see these restless little predators.

Today’s flower is also here because of a quiet nudge, albeit a more human one. Back in the Bronze Age, when Stonehenge was built and agriculture was benefiting from new tools, farmers inadvertently introduced a number of new plants into the British wild. Sweet archangel – also known as red deadnettle – was among them.

Red deadnettle 3 Mar 20

Today it grows quietly, finding a niche for itself on forgotten road verges, painting sweet colour in this reluctant spring.

Soon bees will fly here because of it.

Nature’s cogs keep turning.

18 thoughts on “March in Flower: Sweet Archangel

    1. Thanks πŸ™‚ Nature exists on scales so much longer than human lifetimes. I think we forget sometimes that a thousand years isn’t much in the lifespan of a forest or field. It also shows, I guess, that people have been accidentally transporting plants around the world for a very long time!

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  1. This photo captures the sheer beauty of this purple flower. I see so many of these but looking at it closely, show cases it beatuifully

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  2. Robin echoes my question – looks like a tick. Are they as big a problem there as here? Lyme disease and coinfections are a very serious problem in our area. Ticks currently carry 14 different diseases, a real plague to an outdoor gardener, naturalist or recreationist.

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    1. Hi Eliza, yes, it’s a tick – not uncommon although it was unlucky to get one so early in the year. They are a mostly just a nuisance here, but Lyme’s disease is present and a few thousand people get it every year. Tick-borne encephalitis has also been recorded but it’s very rare in England. I agree, ticks are a plague to all mammals, including us 😦


    1. I wish it was in full bloom, but it has been slower than I’d like. I’m starting to think that I’ve been too hasty with this ‘March in Flower’ series – I’ll pause it for a couple of weeks and hope nature catches up. Most of our flowers are definitely still asleep, and I don’t blame them!


  3. How amazing to see a stoat! Great photo too (despite the tick :)).
    Your comments about the sweet archangel (lovely name) are a useful counterpoint to the concept of nature being somehow pristine.

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    1. Plants do tell many interesting stories about how people have lived in these islands over the centuries. Hedge woundwort was reputedly used for medicinal purposes by Roman soldiers and is said to still grow along some ancient Roman roads here.

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    1. Hi Tim, thanks for your comment and welcome to my blog! Yep, the weasel family is incredibly erratic and with a few exceptions (e.g. looking for otters near rivers) it is very hard to specifically search for them. I catch weasels on my trail cameras from time to time, but see them very rarely. With this stoat, I was looking over a gate into a field when the nervous behaviour of the rabbit got my attention, and after a few minutes, this little face appeared πŸ™‚


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