The holly and the deadly night-shade

Brenda writes: “This afternoon I managed a brief walk in the Benslow garden. There was a lovely flock of long-tailed tits but the black squirrels were nowhere to be seen.¬†Everything is very autumnal although I did see some petty spurge in flower. The holly hedge is covered in berries but when I inspected the deadly night-shade patch there wasn’t a berry to be seen.


I find myself wondering whether there are species that can safely eat them, so I looked it up and apparently some birds can, as well as horses, cows, sheep, goats and rabbits…..but please note that it is extremely poisonous to humans, even though in a refined state it is used for medicinal purposes! So I guess the berries here have most likely been eaten by birds and rabbits.

Benslow is the only place where I have seen broomrape. This is a fascinating plant which is parasitic on the roots of other plants, in this case ivy. It has no green pigment and the plants remain rigid with dead flowers through the winter.”


No new species for December 10th:

Birds = 229
Moths = 259
Wildflowers = 291