Picture Profile 2004: Filipendula ulmaria (Meadowsweet)

Filipendula ulmaria (Meadowsweet). Botanical Illustration

Artist Code 2004. Filipendula ulmaria (Meadowsweet). Water colour on Aquarelle Arches 100% cotton paper 140lb. 12″ x 9″. Completed 4th April 2020 (50 Limited Edition prints)

Yet another little painting produced for book 4 in the River Friend Series I am co-authoring and illustrating with Sylvia M. Haslam entitled “INTERPRET: What do Plants tell us?”. It is part of Figure 10 in the book.

You know you are near to Meadowsweet even before you can see it. On a balmy summer’s day between June and September the sweet fragrance of these flowers is nectar-to-the-nostrils. The flower heads consist of myriad flowers no more than a few millimetres across grouped on branched stalks, but when you see them growing along riverbanks, damp meadows and ditches they look like great clusters of cloudy cotton wool.

Meadowsweet grows prolifically and is abundant where it occurs. If the flowers are crushed, the odour turns from beautifully sweet to slightly antiseptic. In the smelly olden days around the 16th century, Meadowsweet was strewn on the floor alongside rushes and other plants to keep the rooms smelling nice. The whole plant has many uses including flavouring wine, beer and vinegar, dried in a potpourri, and as a spice, AND it contains aspirin!

All aquatic plant species which live along and in the rivers and streams are extremely good indicators of the health and wealth of a waterway and the River Friend Series of little books is intended to help anyone interested in rivers to understand how important are the plants and how, for instance, they are affected by pollution and by the water source drying up. There will be around 17 titles published in time. Please visit the River Friend Website for a list of the latest published titles.

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