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Thursday, 19 June 2014

Today's Walk - the field near my house.

Butterbur

The field near my house is cultivated every year with something different.  This year it's potatoes.  Often it's barley.  I love when it's barley, especially when it ripens in late summer. Swallows fly very low over the golden field, so close in you can almost touch them, catching insects and preparing themselves for their September migration to Africa.
No matter what's growing in the middle of the field, round the edges is an absolute cornucopia of herbs and wild plants.  Cow parsley, nettles (I always mean to collect young nettle tops to cook, and never do), comfrey, and this massive thing which I only identified today.  Butterbur.  There is masses of the stuff.  It produces a flower first, a rather odd-looking purplish spike, and then huge rhubarb-like leaves, which apparently were used for wrapping butter in, hence the name.  It's widely used in herbal medicine, apparently, mainly as a migraine cure.
Barliman Butterbur was of course the landlord of the Prancing Pony in Bree, as all Lord of the Rings fans will know.  

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