Sherardia arvensis   Field Madder C DD N

Sherardia arvensis whole Sherardia arvensis close

This very small but usually prolific flowering plant is found in short grassland or verges sometimes even in lawns. I tend to see it where the soil is neutral or basic. Sherardia arvensis is a very small spring flowering plant - for an idea of the size of the flowers look at the blades of grass nearby. Madders were used for dying clothes and although both Field Madder (Sherardia arvensis) and Wild Madder (Rubia peregrina) were occasionally used in the middle ages, it was the central Asian plant Rubia tinctorum (known simply as Madder) which was imported for this purpose. The roots were the source of the dye. Sherardia arvensis itself can yield a rose pink dye.

Sherardia arvensis is common throughout England and Wales but less common Scotland. There is little to be found in the far north. It is common in Ireland.

Deganwy Hills, 5th April 2005

Added on April 7th 2005, updated 7th February 2012

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