Nature Blog Network

Weeds' seeds

Richard Mabey writes:

‘Weeds’ seeds are always there, waiting for their chance. A break in the surface vegetation, a little light and moisture and they are away. Whilst I was writing this in January I fetched a teaspoonful of earth from an unpromising patch of waste ground near my home and stirred it up in a glass of water. When the soil had settled there were fifteen seeds floating on the surface amongst the woody debris.’

(The Unofficial Countryside, Little Toller Books, Stambridge 2010 p 37.)

So I repeated the experiment with a teaspoon of earth from the field. Nothing.

Can’t be right, surely, so I did it again with a bit more. Two.

Maybe was writing about wasteland in the London area. An ex paddock formerly allotments in East Lancs is obviously a totally different proposition and whilst a look at the flora on the field in the species list shows relatively few seed-reproducing plants, I did expect more than two!