Sticky Willie

It started when I went up to Mother-in-Law’s (Milly’s) to help her with a de-cluttering, ready for a move to a flat at the start of my boys school holidays. I thought I’d take a couple of cuttings from her garden so at least some of her plants would survive a move.

Elephant’s Ears, she’s always called them; but the book we looked in under ‘elephant’s ears’ listed another plant entirely. Not remembering their proper name was frustrating her, so I had to resort to looking it up in the appropriate category of the RHS book, (right size, right colour, perennial) and eventually found ‘bergenia’ – which I note is also known as elephant’s ears when I later look it up on Wiki.
The other plant I had hoped to bring back was Goat’s Beard, or Aruncus, but the goat’s beard had disappeared… or maybe it was too early for it?
There wasn’t enough time to try any more cuttings: I have come back with a root of bergenia and have put it in the garden here.

So many plants and so many common names. In my own garden I have Goose Grass… but many people know this as sticky willie: here a whole list of name is given just for that one plant.

Ladies Mantle, Jacobs Ladder, Fox Gloves, Bear’s Breeches, Love lies Bleeding, Forget-me-Not, Granny’s Bonnets, Lords and Ladies, Witch Hazel. So many descriptive names, and often quite confusing.

Soon the Queen Ann Lace will be lining the hedgerows around Oxfordshire. Or will that be Cow Parsley?

Depends who you ask as to which name applies to what…..

Author: Sarah

No time to lose. No, time to lose. Make time to stand and stare.... Did you see that?

19 thoughts on “Sticky Willie”

  1. There is a plant that I grew up knowing as “Old Man’s Beard”. Years before I even thought of coming to Australia, the Australian wife of one of my father’s friends told me it was called “Rosebay” downunder, in NSW.

    I’ve just tried searching Google to see if this information was correct. No joy from Wiki or any gardening sites. There were many entries for OMB, but none looked like the plant I remembered. No mention of rosebay, either.

    Finally I found a picture on Flickr of the correct plant, annotated with the same two terms. But I wonder what other people here call it?

  2. One could I suppose use the botanical name for these plants, which would avoid the confusion, but I love the common names. It would be a great shame to lose them.

  3. Old Man’s Beard for me means the wild clematis, (Or Traveller’s Joy) Bearsy, but I know it is also used for Rosebay Willow Herb.

    I agree with Ara, the old country names are lovely… it would be a shame to loose them.

    Aha, now I know what to do with it, Bravo. I wonder if Cycloman will know its not real spinach?

  4. In Australia it is a common practice to hang old man’s beard on the branches of a front yard tree.
    I’ll take some shots for you tomorrow morning ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I thought that sticky willy was a very good reason the visit the nearest STD Clinic. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Ladies Mantle, Jacobs Ladder, Fox Gloves, Bearโ€™s Breeches, Love lies Bleeding, Forget-me-Not, Grannyโ€™s Bonnets, Lords and Ladies, Witch Hazel. So many descriptive names, and often quite confusing.

    You mean alchemilla mollis, polymonium, acanthus, amaranthus, mysotis,
    Grannies bonnets??????? What the ‘f’ are they? unidentifiable!
    Some member of the arum family maybe italicum and haemalis.
    So much easier.
    Without resort to the dreaded wiki!
    How I hate common names they vary from country to country and within countries from area to area, causing ‘confusion and delay’
    I bet you kn owe the latin for the bones of the body, why not the correct nomenclature for plants?

  7. Bearsy, your photo is what I know as Old Man’s Beard. Pseu’s photo is what I know as Rose Bay Willow Herb. I’ve never come across the first name applied to the second.

  8. I thought you’d say that Christina!

    Granny’s Bonnet is another name for the Aquilegia. The plant can grow up to 3 feet high, with flower blossoms beginning mid-May and lasting through June, if you remove the faded blossoms.

  9. Sheona, the pink flower turns into the fluffy seed heads a few weeks later in the season

  10. pseu, had you said aquilegia I would have known exactly what you were talking about.
    This blog exemplifies exactly of what I speak!!!

    Bearsys plant is old man’s beard, aka travellers joy and is actually wild clematis, clematis vitalba.

    The other is rosebay willowherb, epilobium, a member of the onagraceae, ie the family of evening primrose. There are various forms, alpine, broad leaved and even a yellow flowered version, but for your purposes the one will do!

    They are not even vaguely related not even 17th cousins twice removed.
    So, if the common name is interchangeable it just shows what a mistake it is to use common names!!!!

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