August 19th – One of the more startling recolonisations of recent years has been the teasel. This dramatic, prehistoric looking plant grows a familiar, spiny seedhead beloved of small songbirds, particularly finches, but the name teasel comes from its industrial use as a comb for ‘teasing’ wool into thread.

When I was young these were a rarity around here, and I never saw one of these tall plants until adulthood. Now, thankfully, they are profuse and in lots of wayside hedges, scrubs, meadows and field-margins – which is helping the bird population.

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