Whole clouds of white floated by the footpaths near Guildford.  Most of these clouds were made up of Greater Stitchwort, a plant which without flowers would be dismissed as just grass.

Until I found THIS excellent forum post, I wasn’t sure whether to name my specimens Greater or Lesser Stitchwort but now the difference is clear.  Each of the five petals here is only split down to about halfway and overall each flower is 2-3 cm wide, not 0.5-1.5 like Lesser.  The books also say that Lesser Stitchwort has smooth-edged leaves but at the time, I’m afraid I didn’t cop a proper feel of the leaves.

Strangely, there is nothing about this common plant in Mrs M Grieve’s 900 page book but I’ve found all manner of folk tales about it on t’internet.  It used to be called ‘Dead Man’s Bones’ (doesn’t say why, maybe just cos it’s white and everyone was always drunk in those days) and another name is Adders’ meat.  Maybe this latter name came about from its reputation of harbouring vipers – as it says on THIS website which seems to know a ridiculous amount of folklore where old Mrs Grieve knows none.  One thing seems clear from most sources though it’s called stitchwort because an infusion of the leaves can cure your stitch.  Great, no need to ‘run it out’ or raise your arms in the air anymore!  Just soak this in warm water and… and what?  Drink it or rub it on?  No idea.

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