GMS Notes No.51 October 2012

Wildflower of the Month


nipplewort_detailNipplewort (Lapsana communis) gets its name from an alleged similarity between the flower buds and nipples. In the mediaeval tradition of signature herbs it was therefore used to treat breast ulcers, cancer and soreness. Needless to say it has no known medicinal value.

Nipplewort_2Lapsana belongs to the composite family which includes all the flowes which look like daisies and dandelions. The family gets its name from the flower head which is, in fact, a cluster of tiny florets rather than being an individual flower. Pull a ‘petal’ out of a dandelion and you will see what I mean. You will see a tiny pistil and stamens inside.

Dandelion flowers have only these ray florets, but the button in the centre of daisies is made up of tiny disc florets.




Composite Flowers 





Unlike nipplewort and dandelion the lawn daisy has disc florets as well as ray florets. The diagram below shows how the florets are arranged on the flower head. As you can see, each floret has a tiny tube of petals with tiny sepals around. The pistil can be seen poking through each petal tube.



A Programme for 2013

It’s time to start thinking about next years programme so I would like your ideas please.

In April we had our largest attendance for Paul Wells informative talk on the Western Heights and again in June attendance was high when another member Alan Fox enthralled us with his knowledge of silver. We are fortunate to have such talented members who are happy to entertain us for a good bottle of wine. However we do have the funds to pay for speakers so let me know your recommendations.




Don’t forget to bring along your ideas for the 2013 programme to our next meeting!

October Meeting

The Wolverton Warrior 

Wolverton_WarriorOur speaker this month is Vince Burrows, who will explain how geophysics applied to archaeological sites has helped to identify some amazing Anglo Saxon burial grounds. It was in 2005 when his wife Rebecca noticed what looked like two distinctive lumps on the ridge skyline from the road in the Alkham Valley.

In 2007 a small team was assembled to geophysically examine the site located on Mean Ridge opposite the small hamlet of Wolverton near Chilton Farm. The results from the survey showed complicated multi period archaeology.

Permission from the landowners was given to excavate and a second team, lead by Vince and volunteers and students, studying archaeology from Kent and Canterbury University set to work. They uncovered the remains of two former Bronze Age Barrow mounds and a series of 6th and 7th century Anglo Saxon burials. How the Warrior was identified will be revealed by Vince on Thursday 18th October in the Parish Hall at 7.30pm.

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