BLACKBERRY (Bramble) (Rubus
DID YOU KNOW?
Some people believe that when Satan was cast out of
heaven, he landed in a prickly Bramble Bush! For this reason, in some English
counties, the Bramble fruits are not picked after St. Michael's Day (29 Sept)
because the Devil curses them!
They also help to support the plant by latching onto other vegetation as
- One of the most useful fruits of early autumn. As soon as the berries show signs of ripening - around Aug.
- - the native
birds begin their annual feast!
- Wild birds : Bullfinches, Hawfinches, Blackbirds and lots of other
song birds relish them.
- Most cage and Aviary birds love them, even Canaries.
- Softbills, thrive on them.
- Blackberries contain a medicinal property that has a marked astringent
- They are an excellent stomach tonic for birds.
- They are of great value, when ripe, as a safe colour-food.
- To help the quality and colour of the plumage at moulting time.
- It's rich in vit. C. (As the "Ribena" manufacturers tell us!)
- They can frequently have fruits of 4 different stages of maturity on the
- Green > red >
red-purple > Black
- The Blackberry bush, is often called the 'Bramble', because of the way it
- > weaving its way through other plants and trees.
- Farmers used to plant Blackberry in amongst Hawthorn hedges.
- This helped to bind the Hawthorn together and make a stronger barrier.
- The tough stems of the Blackberry are armed with hooked thorns which serve
- They deter grazing animals from eating them.
Campions are a great favourite with many of our native
Their seeds are greedily eaten by :
Campions are a close relative to the Chickweed
are of no use as a green-food
The seeds have similar nutritional values as Chickweeds.
Their Seed Capsules are unusually large and abundant.
The Best known Campion and most useful is the White or
So called becos it's pure White blossoms open and
become fragrant towards dusk.
The White species is found in ploughed fields, where
it often towers above other plants and the crop itself.
The Stems can reach approx 2ft high.
The leaves on the lower parts may be as long as 5 - 6"
The upper leaves are only about 3"
They always grow in opposite pairs.
They are rather narrow and pointed + hairy.
During the sunny part of the day the flowers often remain
They tend to open towards dusk and are even open during
When they have almost luminous properties.
The Red Campion differs only in colour.
Found mainly in hedge-banks and dampish woodlands.
There are male and female plants
There is very little difference to the eye
But only the Female plants produce the Seed
The Male plants merely drop away after flowering without
leaving any capsules.
CHARLOCK (Brassica Sinapis)
Charlock is one of the most abundant of British Weeds.
It grows mainly in cornfields and ploughed land.
It is very closely related to the cultivated Mustard.
Both Charlock and Mustard seeds are very similar in their
Charlock seeds are smaller and much darker than mustard
The seeds are a great favourite with wild birds
Charlock seeds are good to create "heat" and
therefore are beneficial during cold weather.
They can help keep asthma and chills and related symptoms at
bay when the weather is bad.
The Charlock plant has branched stems
They reach a height of 1 - 2 ft.
The flowers are bright yellow and about 1 - 2" across
when fully open.
Seed pods are approx. 2" long, Squarish or angular with
an awl-shaped beak at the top.
CHICKWEED (Stellaria Media)
Close-up of Chickweed Plant
Clumps of Chickweed
- This is a name given to many plants, some of which
are not really Chickweeds at all.
- The true CHICKWEED (Stellaria Media) is
one of the very best of all our wild green-foods.
- You may use it at any stage of it's growth-life.
- When it is mature it is a favourite food with most
hen-birds for their nestlings.
- Almost all our British Birds love it
- Goldfinch; Greenfinch; Chaffinch; Bullfinch and
Linnet all eat it as do Blackbirds, Skylarks and Yellow Buntings.
- The green leaves and shoots are rich in vital
vitamins & minerals, incl. iron, which are essential for good health.
- The seeds are also edible.
- The plant can be dried for storage.
Vitamins & Minerals :
- Vit. C : It is particularly high in ascorbic acid
and mucilage properties.
- B. Vits : Niacin (B3), riboflavin (B2), thiamin (B1),
- Vit A : Beta carotene
: magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc,
phosphorus, manganese, sodium, selenium, and silicon.
Chickweed is useful (for
both Birds and Humans) as :
- Chickweed is delicious and fresh-tasting, as a salad
"vegetable" for us humans.
- Properties include :
- A tonic, diuretic, demulcent,
expectorant, and mildly laxative.
- It's often recommended for asthma, bronchitis, or congestion.
- It's also said to help control obesity and is an ingredient in some
human herbal weight loss preparations.
- Externally, chickweed relieves itching and inflammation and is
generally soothing and moisturizing.
- It can be used for any minor skin infections or irritations, and is an
ingredient in a number of commercial skin care products.
- Common chickweed is a very common weed.
- It is extremely variable in its appearance, but generally it has a
very slender tap root and greatly branching leafy stems, which lie along
- Many small, white flowers are produced; the stamens have
- Chickweed is just about always flowering, except in the dead of
- The flowers close at night and open in the morning.
- They also close when it's about to rain.
- Possibly they respond to changes in air pressure.
- It does seem that the flowers don't open at all when a low
pressure system is lingering.
- Chickweed also reacts to nightfall by folding its leaves over the
growing tip to protect it.
COLTSFOOT (Tussilago Farfara)
- Coltsfoot is one of the earliest of all our Spring Flowers.
- They are about 4 inches high at first growth.
- The yellow flowering heads are often to be seen before the end of January.
- March is the main month of growth though.
- Coltsfoot grows abundantly on moist and heavy soils.
- They look like a smaller relation to the dandelion flower.
- They differ from the Dandelion by their scaley stalks and smaller
- When the flowers have withered, the heads droop down and remain in that
position until the seeds are ripe.
- They they become erect again and often grow to a foot or more in height,
until finally opening into a globular ball of silvery pappus, which is
eagerly sought by many birds as a lining for their nests.
above we get a good comparison of the size difference
between the first flower stage (4" approx) and second (seeding head
stage) of growth (approx 1ft).
Coltsfoot is a Food and a medicine
combined (Both Birds & Humans)
- It is one of the finest of all natural remedies for any trace of Wheeziness
- Improvement which follows its use is often fairly obvious.
- Wild Birds seem to relish the flowering heads - esp. the Chaffinch.
The leaves of the coltsfoot were used as
an ingredient in herbal tobacco, which was smoked as a cure for asthma. (-
that's a bit of a contradiction in terms - inhaling smoke to help your
breathing - don't u think?!)
Coltsfoot tea, sweetened with honey, was
used for colds and asthma.
Even the flower stocks of the coltsfoot
were used to make "syrup of coltsfoot", which was recommended for
treating chronic bronchitis.
Birds do seem to eat the stems and
Seeding Heads or "Dandelion Clocks"
Close-up + growing on gravel
The Dandelion may be found in bloom in almost any month of
It is probably at it's best in the Spring when the leaves
are young and tender.
It is generally conceded that the Dandelion is the best
"Blood Purifier" in Nature's medicine Chest.
There is hardly a finer tonic for your Birds,
our English weeds.
Here's a pair of Fife Canaries enjoying young Dandelion leaves,
bits of Fresh, young, Spring Grass mixed in
- NOT LAWN
Click on picture to enlarge >>>
Birds Love these parts of the Dandelion :
and the seeding heads before they open out into
the "Dandelion Clock"
: part the closed Seeding Head and if the
seeds are dark brown.
- cut off the white fluffy end bit .
Push the dandelion head, with the ripe seeds in between
the bars of your Birds' cage.
Canaries, in particular, love these seeds (fed as
above) and they are very good for them.
Not many people realize there are, in fact, over 300 similar
growing wild in this country.
The True Dandelion
pictured above) is the only one, which has all the
wonderful nutritional and medicinal properties which are attributed to it.
The TRUE DANDELION's Description:
It has the familiar Yellow fronded flowering head.
head consists of many tiny flowers.
It grows singly at the tops of bare and un-branched
Each stalk is smooth and shiny
It is always hollow.
It exudes a bitterish milky juice as soon as the stem is
The leaves always have the familiar backward-pointing
it reproduces asexually
are examples of plants that look like true dandelions but do not conform to the description above.
2 ▲pseudo"Dandelions"have 3+flowering heads each on fat stems (click to enlarge pictures)
important to remember that those Dandelion-like weeds which bear 2 or more
flower-heads on a single or branched stalk, are NEVER proper Dandelions, no matter how much they may resemble them!
Similar plants are the Hawkweeds, Hawkbit and Hawks-beard
OTHER USES FOR THE DANDELION
- Dandelion root
is a registered
sold as a
- (i.e. it relieves water retention - swollen ankles etc.)
- It helps to keep the kidneys in good working
- A leaf decoction can be drunk to "purify the blood"
- for the treatment of anemia, jaundice, and also for nervousness.
- The milk is also applied to warts,
- helping get rid of them without damaging the surrounding skin.
- The milky latex has been used as a mosquito repellent.
COMMON DOCK (Curled) : (Rumex
This is one of the very worst weeds for the British Farmer
to try and eradicate.
But what is the Farmer's Pest is loved by most birds.
Wild Birds come from far and wide to enjoy feasts of the Dock Seed - The Bullfinch in particular.
Most Cage birds inc. Canaries and most Finches relish the
Some Breeders claim that no other seed has such a good
effect upon the plumage.
The Dock seeds contain quite a high percentage of oils.
This makes it a good Winter food for maintaining
condition and helping to prevent chills.
Even though the seeds seem to have a high oil content they
tend not to cause undue fatness.
In fact, the effect seems to be the reverse.
The bowels are kept in such a healthy condition that
there is no obvious accumulation of fat.
For this reason, the Dock seed has often been used as an
aid to help correct obesity.
This oil also serves as an internal lubricant and helps
keeps the digestive tract in order.
The Dock seed is easy to gather in quantity.
The seeding heads can be dried, just as they are, to be fed
Plants are tall and have strong stems, which are difficult
to cut/strim thru.
The only way the land-owner can get rid of the Dock is to
spray with a strong systemic Weed killer, which is absorbed into the
root-system and kills the whole plant.
EUCALYPTUS TREE / Leaves
Parrot-like birds, inc. Budgies and other small parakeets love Eucalyptus
Galahs use them in the wild to line their Nests.
The leaves contain a natural
They are supposed to help deter mites and mice!
A Willow cutting can grow massively over a short period of time.
Most birds love these leaves.
and enjoy stripping the bark off the twiglets the leaves
Esp. in early spring when the buds, new leaves and baby
catkins are starting to develop.
will also strip and chew the fine stems/branches that you put in with them.
Willow contains “Salicylic acid” which is the main
ingredient in Aspirin
— so it has medicinal properties.
If you have room in
your garden, you can strike a Willow cutting very
by breaking a piece
off the desired tree (approx 1” diameter is ideal)
then plant the cut end 3
— 4” into the soil.
It should strike and start to grow by spring but beware,
- they do grow alarmingly quickly.
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