DESCRIPTION: Height up to 40cm. A perennial plant with a basal fan of narrow leaves from which arise a long stem bearing a pyramidal spike of sulphur yellow star-like flowers. Each flower is wonderfully enhanced by a set of six feathery-orange tipped stamens, Bog asphodel produces creeping rhizomes (underground stems) from which it can reproduce. It also produces seeds and its flowers attract a range of pollinating insects. DISTRIBUTION: Common in central and western parts of England, becoming scarcer to the east. Where wetlands are being drained the plant is in severe decline. HABITAT:Wet, acidic peaty soils in open sites such as found on heaths and bogs. FLOWERING TIME: June to September. EXTRA NOTES: This plant was once known as the 'Bone Breaker' (hence 'ossifragum') due to a belief that any cattle that grazed in it would suffer from brittle bones. More often than not any weakening of the bones was down to the calcium-poor pastures in which the livestock grazed. It was occasionally used as a substitute for saffron and as a yellow hair-dye in western and northern Britain. The plant is the larval foodplant of the Shoulder-Striped Clover Moth.
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