Mainly about the wild flowers of Fife

Round Cupar

Up the hill

It felt like the next step, but I was quite nervous about trying the steep path up the side of the golf course.

The flowers were wonderful. Spectacular Welsh Poppies lined the path.

I can never decide whether I like the yellow ones best, or the orange ones. Today there were some which were a shade between the two (bonus bee).

There were drifts of blue Germander Speedwell.

Lots of the delicate Three-nerved Sandwort, Moehringia trinervia, growing out from the wall at a helpful height.

More lovely Forget-me-nots – after checking, I think this one is Field Forget-me-not, Myosotis arvensis.

The grasses are good too, but I’ve kind of stopped trying to identify them…

At the top there were some friendly young bullocks in the field, and a welcome bench in among the broom.

I liked that there was broom on one side of the path and gorse on the other.

There was lots of birdsong but they’ve become pretty much invisible now.

Bush Vetch was looking fresh among the other green leaves.

I watched this carder bee go from flower to flower.

The path was quiet at first but got busier, and it’s quite narrow for social distancing. But I was so pleased that I got up and down without difficulty. That hill was mainly in my head. And it was worth a bit of sore knee to see all those flowers, including this lovely wild arrangement which reminded me of my favourite Monopoly board squares.

Weird reaction.

The Cowslip Field

Last week this seemed impossible, but this week I decided to give it a try and set off for the Cowslip Field.

The hawthorn hedge is coming into flower and I reminded myself of the two species. First, the common one, Crataegus monogyna with its single stigma. (And lovely pink anthers.)

Then the Midland hawthorn, Crataegus laevigata, which has two stigmas and more rounded leaves.

The hedge was full of pink campion and glimpses of marsh marigold at the edge of the burn. I stopped to hear a Sedge Warbler (I think ) but never saw it. But I did see my first House Martin of the year.

Walking up the field edge, I could see the spread of yellow in the distance.

I was so pleased not to have missed them this year.

They were beginning to go over, but still beautiful.

There was some Meadow Foxtail bobbing about in the wind, with its purple anthers turning brown.

I thought it was too much of an ask to go on to the main road, so turned back. Lovely views over the fields, which are just the best kind of green just now.

This picture reminds me that the clouds were wonderful today.

Starlings were pecking about the cows’ ankles.

This wee one just asked for its picture to be taken.

Flower-wise, I was happy to find Geranium dissectum and genuinely pink Pink Purslane.

And I got close to a rabbit, and watched a junior goldfinch being fed by its parent. So glad that I can do this again.

Getting obsessive now…

A third Bank Street blog…oh well it shows what diversity there is in a very short distance. Again I went a little further, to where the road goes round the corner, and most of the new stuff is from that stretch.

I found my first Wood Avens, Herb Bennet, Geum Urbanum among the lime trees.

I’ve been passing this little forget-me-not and thinking that I should try to ID it. Sadly, I was too stiff/lazy/windblown to get a better picture than this…might be Field Forget-me-not, going on the small size of the flowers, but really that’s just a guess. I’m putting this in to shame myself.

I was more conscientious about the Comfrey which I saw last time. Had a look at the sepals, which are deeply divided, which makes it likely to be Tuberous Comfrey, Symphytum tuberosum.

There was a lovely apple tree in blossom at the top.

And an explosion of Broom, with a fancy one as a bonus.

However, the Hawthorn outblossomed them all.

There were some nice roadside plant. Fumitory (another ID shirk) and White Dead Nettle looked good together.

There was a little Bugloss just getting going (another photo fail).

A strawberry plant.

Across the road, white narcissi on the verge, plus view.

Coming down the hill, I decided I really had to forgive the Ivy-leaved Speedwell and take its picture.

Then a real Mystery plant.

The leaves say Oxalis but it’s much sturdier than Wood Sorrel. Really not sure, will have to have another look.

Finally, my grass of the day was another Brome, very soft and velvety. So I’m going for Soft Brome, Bromus hordeaceus.

Bank Street re-visited

It’s only a couple of days since I blogged my slow walk up Bank Street, but today I did it all over again (going just a little further) and decided to look at the plants which didn’t make the previous cut.

At the edge of the path, at the top of the hill, there were daisies, white clover and Creeping Buttercup enjoying the sunshine.

There’s a nice moss-covered wall up there too. Think this colony includes Schistidium crassipilum (?) and Grimmia pulvinata.

Across the road was a bank of Comfrey – not sure which one, I didn’t cross the road (which seemed almost back to normal levels of traffic).

In among the Lime trees were Sticky Willie, stretching high, and Pink Campion.

There was a “normal” Dandelion (not jaggy leaved), blowing about among the Cow Parsley.

And this poor Groundsel was one of the plants which didn’t make it into the previous blog, but it’s doing well.

I had another look at the Speedwells. Didn’t manage to get a nice picture of the Ivy-leafed Speedwell (which is in my bad books anyway because of its behaviour in the garden), but came away with quite an arty shot of the tiny Wall Speedwell, Veronica arvensis.

Somehow, the camera just about coped with the wind when pointed at the tossing head of the Ribwort Plantain.

Back into the built-up section, there was Red Valerian, Centranthus ruber, coming into flower on top of a wall.

A wonderful airy Arabidopsis thaliana.

Other pavement plants included Chickweed and something which I think is Hairy Bittercress, but I might have a proper look at the stamens next time.

Beautiful Yellow Corydalis in its prime.

Stonecrop was beginning to colour up. I wish I’d removed the wisp of grass, but someone was approaching and I wasn’t hanging around.

Finally, a grass. I’m trying to learn a grass each day. This one might be Poa pratensis, Smooth-stalked Meadow Grass.

Cupar street plants

A detailed look at the plants growing on the hill up past the hospital helped me exercise a sore leg. Most were helpfully growing on the walls, so no kneeling required. I had plenty of time to clock them all as I inched up the hill.

The first one to make me stop and look was this gravity-defying Bellflower.

There were quite a few clumps growing on the wall and it’s obviously a garden escape. I liked the way the stems shoot upwards without any support.

Prickly and Smooth Sow thistles were robust and happy in the crack between the pavement and the wall.

Crinkly wall-rue has made itself at home in walls all around here.

However, the dominant wall plant has to be Ivy-leaved Toadflax.

A plant which has been vaguely bugging me for weeks is just about to flower.

I think it must be Feverfew – the red stems made me wonder. Love the ferny leaves.

I liked these orange-yellow Welsh poppies and especially the textured buds.

I wouldn’t usually include a garden bush in these blogs, but the lilac was stunning and just the right height for sniffing.

Helpfully at waist-height, a dry edge had Germander speedwell and Wall speedwell together. I wish I could have got a picture that included the tiny intense blue flowers of the Wall speedwell.

I found my first Vetch of the year. Think it’s Common Vetch, Vicia sativa, but I forgot to look for a black blotch on the sepals.

Then there was this little trefoil (hugely magnified here). No needle point to the leaves, so not Black Medick. Probably Lesser Trefoil, Trifolium dubium – I can just see that the top leaflet has a (very) short stalk.

Past the edge of town, there was the closest thing to a bluebell wood that I’m going to see this year.

Some lovely wild garlic looking good with the fresh green lime tree leaves.

And cow parsley is at its frothy best just now.

Coming back down, I looked at this grass, which might be Sterile Brome, Bromus sterilis.

A jaggy-leaved Dandelion, which is probably identifiable but I really don’t want to go down the Dandelion ID road.

A rather nice clump of nettle leaves.

And there was some Sagina procumbens, Procumbent Pearlwort, at the edge of the kerb, looking as if it had tiny flowers but there are just sepals and anthers. (I guess that still counts as a flower?)

It all helped to scrape off some of the rust.

Somewhere else (lockdown style)

I was so grateful to find a beautiful path along the Eden today.

I walked out to Cupar Muir, admiring the unfolding chestnut leaves and the soft light on the fields.

I was going to come back along the Eden, but saw this path going off towards Springfield and thought I’d have a look. The peace was immediate, thanks to the sound of the river and the presence of this giant willow tree.

It had the most amazing bark.

Willow flowers are beautiful too.

I sat and listened to the noise of the water going from smooth to rough over the stones.

There was peace and sunshine.

And there were flowers everywhere I looked. The first cuckoo-flower of the season.


Butterbur too.

One of my favourites, Chrysosplenium oppositifolium (Golden Saxifrage). With a visiting fly.

The birdsong was wonderful. I heard the first invisible Blackcap of the year, and pinned down a rusty trilling sound to a Great Tit, much to my surprise.

Later in the season there will be some unwelcome residents – Giant Hogweed, Nettle, Himalayan Balsam (seedlings in this picture – they were everywhere).

But today it was perfection, with the young green leaves, the sound of the water, the butterflies and the peace and quiet.

It felt so normal and so lovely to be pottering along looking at flowers – and why have I never walked along here before?

Walk from Cupar

I guess I’m going to be very familiar with all the paths round Cupar by the time the lockdown is over. For today’s exercise, I walked through the park beside the Eden (busy with dog walkers) then along to the Trading Estate, deserted, where there is some wonderful moss.

As the main road was so much quieter than usual, I went on then took the track down towards Dairsie Bridge. A new one for me. I didn’t go all the way to the bridge because my leg was sore, but maybe another day.

The track had daffodils, celandines and scillas among the trees. Chaffinches and yellowhammer in the branches. At the road end, I found this solitary crocus.

I went up Foxton Farm road, pondering over the white blossom on the hedge – Blackthorn or Cherry Plum? Should have taken a picture, but I wasn’t meaning to do a blog.

Walking back along the field track to Cupar, I took a picture of this red dead-nettle for wildflowerhour, and listened to skylarks all around.

Further on, there was another good “wall plant” photo opportunity, with dandelion, prickly sow thistle and hairy bittercress all together.

A wren hopped up on top of the wall and sang loudly. Further down the lane, the dunnocks were also singing from the top of the hedge. When I was nearly home, I found this cobblestone grid of Whitlowgrass, Erophila verna, which I’d never noticed before.

Flowers: celandine, dandelion, coltsfoot, speedwell (Veronica persica), red and white dead-nettle, gorse, groundsel, Prunus cerastifera (I think), prickly sow thistle, hairy bittercress, whitlowgrass, arabidopsis thaliana.

Birds: Chiffchaff (first one seen this year), chaffinch, blackbird, robin, wren, yellowhammer, sparrow, lesser black backed gulls on chimney, buzzard, skylark. Plus gulls and rook/crow which I still can’t do.