BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘weed’

#365daysofbiking Ubiquitous

May 13th – It’s cow parsley time again: This prolific edgeland and hedgerow dweller is a member of the carrot family, and is plentiful everywhere I go.

Sometimes mistaken for Queen Anne’s lace or the truly horrible, much taller giant hogweed, cow parsley or keck is an innocuous, edible and some consider medicinal plant that tastes a little like chervil.

The white flowerheads make for a gorgeous, if very overlooked display at this time of year. A pretty and misunderstood plant.

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#365daysofbiking An ever present weevil

March 21st – Saturday morning seemed brighter. A quick spin up the canal on an errand, and I noticed the azolla bloom – the green scum that’s been on the surface of the canal all winter – was finally breaking up as it’s prey weevil attacked it. This is normal for the lifecycle of this invasive growth and hopefully the weevils will finish the job.

That made me feel a bit better.

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#365daysofbiking Anchored down

February 4th – When you can’t got far the routes are limited, so one thing to do is the same route in the other direction – so that’s what I did.

I love the view of the Anchor Bridge by night and it’s just right for a long exposure photo.

That bridge has seem some life over ther years, and been widened and rebuilt many times.

A real quiet spot for me, and a place for a breather as I get my riding legs back.

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#365daysofbiking Unusual colour

February 2nd – The Azolla bloom in the local canal, and as it matures patches of the waterway have turned a deep red.

Azolla is a small but populous growth that although strange and invasive, does little harm – it will disappear in spring as the weevils gorge on it. Winter normally sees its death, but after a very favourable summer, the winter has not been cold enough to kill it.

It’s not stringy and parts easily for passing boats and waterfowl.

But it does look very unusual.

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#365daysofbiking Surface tension and the biblical propensity

October 25th – Passing through Walsall on a wet and very blustery day, I passed Town Wharf, the canal basin that’s been in Walsall for a while now. In fact since the canals were built here, a couple of hundred years ago.

I notice we now have hastily added deep water warnings, because apparently people are mistaking the weed on the canal for grass and falling in.

There has been a sudden rash of such incidents in the last few weeks.

Once can only speculate why so many folk suddenly should try to replicate the biblical miracle of walking on water here in Walsall. Perhaps the nearby establishments that sell wine may be linked. Maybe they converted it from canal water (not too much of a transition for some of the local ales, to be fair).

It’s all most peculiar. But do mind how you go. It’s wet down there.

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#365daysofbiking Lily was here

October 11th –  On the way to work on the canal Walsall Wood, I noticed something one doesn’t normally see until early spring: This floating root, probably disturbed by Canal and River Trust efforts to remove the floating algae, is a rhizome of the water lilies that are so profuse here.

This remnant of the summer plant generally sinks to the canal bottom during winter, and when the water warms in spring, it becomes buoyant, floats with other detritus and then takes root, and when rooted, will grow that season’s lilies.

It’s a curious mechanism that actually works very efficiently.

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#365daysofbiking Clear waters rising


August 12th – Further back up the canal, on the way home, it’s pleasing to note that the thick mat of algae we’ve had all summer on the local canals is finally naturally receding.

I guess conditions have been perfect for it, so it flourished, but it has been an unsightly rubbish trap for a while now.

Of course, all that green matter is goodness and as it breaks down will be good for the waterlife – and below, the water is crystal clear now.

I’ve never seen a season like if for surface growth.

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#365daysofbiking Alien carrots!

August 6th – A couple of weeks ago I featured a new plant here – wild carrot. This curious, cow-parsley like edgeland weed was readily identifiable by a single dark flower in the centre of the umbel.

Wild carrot is just as distinctive when it goes to seed. This is a seed head; slightly redolent of a clematis, it’s odd, skeletal spines and hairy seeds are quite, quite alien and rather fascinating.

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#365daysofbiking – Not dead yet:

September 23rd – I said the other day that there were not many flowers about at the moment, and I hold my hands up: I wasn’t looking hard enough.

Coming into a second flush of flowering now, the dead nettles on Clayhanger Common are having one last yahoo before winter.

Absolutely gorgeous as only they could be. Such a cheering sight.