Friday, May 10, 2013

Bugle time

Bugle flowers are now coming up to their peak all over Emthree as ‘blue steeples' (an Austrian term for the plant) and it is, as Geoffrey Grigson says in his Englishman’s Flora “A most lovable and inexhaustible little plant.”


These days it seems to feature only rarely in books about herbs and forageables but in the past it had quite a reputation for helping to heal wounds and cure whitlows etc. As Gerard wrote “The decoction of Prunell made with wine and water doth join together and make whole and sound all wounds, both inward and outward, even as Bugle doth. To be short, it serveth for the same that the Bugle serveth and in the world there are not two better wound herbs as hath been often proved.”

By ‘Prunell’ he means self-heal (Prunella vulgaris).

Bugle also does not seem to welcome many invertebrates. Although the flowers are popular with carder bees and some hover flies, rather few species choose to eat it. Those that do include the larvae of the yellow and black sawfly (Athalia cordata), one micro moth, the aphid Myzus ajugae and the Eriophyid mite Aceria ajugae. I have found all these except the mite in Emthree over the years.