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Flowers & Plants - Angelica & Common Valerian
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Angelica & Common Valerian
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Angelica (Angelica sylvestris)

This is a tall plant, growing up to 2m (more usually 1.5m), and very common and characteristic in the damper areas of Dubwath Meadows. The white or pale pink flowers are found in compact round heads or umbels at the top of leaf stalks, which swell to an inflated sheath where they meet the round and purplish hollow stem. Angelica flowers from June to September.

The seeds of angelica, which are winged to aid dispersal and are bitter to taste, are used to flavour alcoholic beverages such as Vermouth and Chartreuse.

The plant has long been given its angelic name because of its seeming ability to cure anything - it was considered to be a great defence against evil spirits, witches, spells and the plague. 

Common Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

This again is a tall plant (up to 1.5m) and very common in the wetter parts of Dubwath Meadows, often growing with Angelica and Meadowsweet. It has very attractive pinkish-white small flowers growing closely together at the end of tall stems - these flowers appear from June to August, and turn into feathery seeds which are dispersed by floating on the air.

Valerian, otherwise known as All-Heal, is well-known as a medicinal herb used for calming the nerves, encouraging sleep and reducing blood pressure. When bruised, the plant is strongly attractive to cats which feel compelled to roll on it. It is also attractive to rats and can be used as rat bait (it is sometimes said that the Pied Piper of Hamelin secreted parts of valerian about his person to gain his rodent following).

The name Valerian is said by some authors to derive from Valerius, who first used the plant in medicine, while others derive the name from the Latin word valere (to be in health) due to its medicinal qualities.