Wild flower now identified as a Redshank

A Poinsettia.

A Poinsettia.

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Followers of this column would recently have read the report on the white wild flower persicaria which a local couple found growing in their garden, a piece of which was shown to the staff at Dawyck Botanical Garden near Peebles. There they gave the specimen its Latin name of polygonum lapathifolia, with the common name of pale persicaria.

On reading of the naming in the Hawick News, local wild flower authority and author of books on the subject, Michael Braithwaite, viewed the plant and provided a slightly different conclusion.

“This is the white-
flowered variety of the normally red-flowered Redshank, persicaria maculosa, a common weed of arable fields,” he says. “The white-flowered variety is not uncommon.

“Pale persicaria, persicaria lapathifolia, is somewhat similar. It is an uncommon plant of wet places and arable fields and muddy places at riversides. Its flowers are greenish-white, not white, and have distinctive glands along the stalk to the bunch of flowers and on the bracts of the individual flowers.”

Mr Braithwaite adds that he saw the pale persicaria twice in 2014 in Hawick on mud along the Teviot at the Common Haugh and down Mansfield, and the white-flowered Redshank by Hassendeanburn Farm and many places in the town, including river shingle.

To be fair to the gardeners at Dawyck, the specimen they were shown had been severed from the parent plant for some time and so was not fresh, hence the possible difference in the naming.

Arguably the most 
widely-purchased pot plant at Christmas is the poinsettia. This showy plant, with its fiery-red top (the usual variety available but also with either white or pinkish heads), must have a warm room.

It hates draughts and even getting them home from where purchased can give them a chill, and they will show this by dropping their leaves. Water when the surface of the soil dries out.