Miscellany 002

Well, there’s something I’ve learned from coming to live in Ilmenau! Last night we had a walk on the Heyda side as it was nearer our work than the Kickelhahn to the south. And as I predicted, we found cow-wheat (melampyrum) – in fact wood cow-wheat (Hainwachtelweizen, m. nemorosum) – along a fence where I had seen it in the past

Even more wonderful, the autumn crocuses were to be found, too, on the fringe of a reed bed where I had had such difficulty in the spring of 2005 working out what the strange plump seed capsules could be. Haven’t got a camera organised yet in support of this blog but here are some “commons” photos.

As you get older it’s probably less likely you’ll discover new plants on exploratory walks. Last night reconciled me (how I need to be reconciled!) a little to the fact of my “anno domini”, reminding me that the years have at least brought some accumulated if very miscellaneous knowledge!

When the Wachtelweizen and the Herbstzeitlose had delivered the satisfaction of a prediction fulfilled, there was an additional delight in store for us. A lone gentian! Before I came to Ilmenau I would have never recognised one on sight.

I think I saw my first on a return visit from here to Poole in Dorset… and as the Dorset coast is fossiliferous and the Veronikaberg’s limestone rock bears the special name “Muschelkalk” I am reminded again of the expression “indicative weed”. That term I learned many years ago in relation to Pennine landscapes (Bradford WEA courses – I throw in the detail in case there are people out there who want to share their memories…).

I haven’t “borrowed” a picture of a blue gentian as I felt obliged to research the name and so found out that it could have been gentianella germanica or ciliata. Thinks: should I be less obsessive so that miscellanising takes less time? Answers self: probably not if you want to keep up your reputation as a translator! TTFN

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