Water Figwort

Water Figwort (Scrophularia auriculata) is an interesting plant that I have previously not noticed on the Cerne riverbank. The books say it grows to 70cm in height but I am sure it is growing taller than that in the location where I spotted it. The stems are square in cross-section with ‘prominent wings’ – thin extensions growing outwards from each corner. The small flowers are up to 1cm in length and grow in spikes along the stem, each flower with a dark red or maroon upper lip and with a very strange appearance, quite unlike anything else I have seen. The fruits are greenish capsules that are thought to resemble small figs.

What is Biodiversity?

For National Biodiversity Day, many organisations have posted on-line features and films about what biodiversity is and what it means for humankind and the planet. They are much better at defining the problems and solutions than I am. The Natural History Museum in London, for example, produced the following simple explanation and video. At a time when the natural world around us is clearly and rapidly changing, I think it important to notice what is happening right here, right now, and consider the ways in which we can take responsibility for promoting biodiversity on our own doorstep, even if the means available to us as individuals may seem to be small and insignificant considering the enormity of the problem.

What is biodiversity?