Tuesday, July 21, 2009

cotehele - traveller's joy

the Tamar at Cotehele (a few miles south of home), and below, traveller's joy (or old man's beard), a wild clematis, with a soft vanilla scent. The name is reputedly relatively recent (John Gerard in 16th century) but it is such a striking plant I find it difficult to think it did not have earlier names. The dry winter stems were smoked (hence boy's bacca and shepherd's delight). It had no use in herbal medicine and seems to have been valued for its habit of climbing through hedges by the side of roads, and providing shade.

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