No, this post isn’t about me when I haven’t shaved for a few days.
It’s about the Wild Clematis (Clematis vitalba), a plant also known as Old Man’s Beard.
The flower of the Wild Clematis is white and star-like. It flowers in July and August and is visited by bees for its pollen. It’s a fairly small flower so isn’t particularly noticeable.
However, after the flower has died and turned to seed, the seed head is very noticeable. Have a look at the photo beneath.I just happened to glance into the field and was amazed to see all the bushes draped in white and shining in the sunshine. I thought at first it was sheep’s wool.
Going a little closer though and it was clear it wasn’t wool but seed-heads..
The seed-head of the Wild Clematis has long, silky hairs which form grey tufted balls. The silky hairs assist in the dispersal of the seeds.
These are ready to take off in the wind, to spread their seeds in pastures new!
Another name for the Wild Clematis is Traveller’s Joy. Seeing these hedgerows cascading in white certainly brought a smile to my face as I travelled through the countryside.
The Wild Clematis is an example of why I love walking in the countryside. It’s a theme I frequently refer to in my blog posts. It’s Seeing the Extraordinary in the Ordinary.
I can frequently and easily pass by something that I don’t pay much attention to, yet when I take time to inspect it more closely, I see an object of fragility, grace and beauty.
Finally, it’s very obvious from the final picture why it’s also called Old Man’s Beard!
In fact, with Christmas approaching, I’m sure there are some Father Christmases and Santa Clauses around who could use such a fine-looking “beard”.