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Avian Myopia

Hawkweed

Hawkweed

Today we have Hawkweed, or perhaps, I ought to say one of the Hawkweeds.

When we have nothing to complain about – which isn’t often, I must admit – we can usually find cause for concern amongst the nomenclature of plants. This is usually sufficient to keep us occupied until an issue of more immediate concern arises.

You see, the Hawkweeds have a disconcerting habit of setting their seed, whether they have been decently fertilised or not. This covert cloning means that local variations abound, and are replicated with a complete lack of discretion. There are around three hundred different Hawkweeds – most of which you have to dismember down to their chromosomes in order to tell them apart.

As a herb, we humans use them in much the same way we use the Dandelion, and I’m guessing that most of us would be happy to just call them Dandelions, and let it go at that.

However, hawks, down through the ages, have believed that the Hawkweed flower is good for their eyesight. This is obviously an old wives’ tale. Did a little bird tell them, I wonder?

As can be seen from the state of the petals in our picture. The raptor community is obviously conservative, it’s not likely to move with the times and start wearing spectacles any time soon.

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