Mid-summer flowers

Summer flowers are a large part of the joy of being in the Lakes and these Red Campions, ruddy as a fine wine, are in full blossom at the moment. Each flower consists of 5 forked petals and, if you look closely, the flowers on individual plants are either male or female.

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Slenus dioeca 

This is a male bloom; females have a few sticky white threads protruding from the centre, to catch the pollen carried by passing insects.

It is named ‘Silenus’, after the donkey riding woodland god of wine and usefully, the roots of these plants are said to contain small amounts of saponin, which can be lathered up as a natural soap, if caught out after midsummer revelry..