Photograph of the Month - April 2022

lesser Celandine in Ballybeg Woods
Jean Ryan

The Lesser Celandine is one of the first flowers to raise its head in the early spring.
With its shiny, narrow yellow 8-12 petalled flowers, it blooms in woods, by rivers, in hedge-banks and roadsides between February and May.  From a carpet of fleshy, dark-green, heart-shaped leaves these starry, glossy flowers open in sunshine, closing up in overcast conditions and at
night.   Nectar  seeking insects in early spring help its pollination, although it also spreads by the fall of tiny little  tuber s from its leaf  axil s in early summer. This is one of our  native  plants and it belongs to the family Ranunculaceae. Its name in Irish is Grán Arcáin.
The Lesser Celandine can now be found carpeting Ballybeg Woods and is a joy to behold, heralding in the Spring.

The Lesser Celandine

There is a Flower, the Lesser Celandine,
That shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain;
And, the first moment that the sun may shine,
Bright as the sun himself, ’tis out again!
When hailstones have been falling, swarm on swarm,
Or blasts the green field and the trees distressed,
Oft have I seen it muffled up from harm,
In close self-shelter, like a Thing at rest.
But lately, one rough day, this Flower I passed,
And recognized it, though an altered form,
Now standing forth an offering to the blast,
And buffeted at will by rain and storm.
I stopped, and said, with inly-muttered voice,
"It doth not love the shower, nor seek the cold:
This neither is its courage nor its choice,
But its necessity in being old.
"The sunshine may not cheer it, nor the dew;
It cannot help itself in its decay;
Stiff in its members, withered, changed of hue."
And, in my spleen, I smiled that it was grey.
To be a Prodigal and Favourite -then, worse truth,
A Miserand Pensioner -behold our lot!
O Man, that from thy fair and shining youth
Age might but take the things Youth needed not!

William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

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