The JULY Hedge

A month in the life of a Hedge!


Much flora can be found on the hedge verges which are refuges for traditional flora: Knapweed (Centaurea nigra), the common Cotton Thistle which attracts bees and Stinging Nettle. Foxgloves and Broad-leaved Docks are also in bloom. Flowers already out are losing their brilliance.

Goosegrass or Cleavers - when walking it will attach itself to your clothes, with its hairy stems it is intent on dispersing its seeds. It used to be fed to goslings to make them immune to disease, horses and cows also eat it. Its roots make a red dye and the roasted seeds can be used instead of coffee.


The Blackberry or bramble blossom is out. There are over a hundred species in this genus – rubus - listed for Ireland and England. One of them is the Stone Bramble – Rubus saxatilis – found in coastal hedges. Hoverflies love the brambel flower. bvc

Hazel will be covered with fruit, found especially in the Burren and south of the Broadmeadow river in Fingal.


The Meadow Brown butterfly can be seen in the hedges and also Fritillary butterflies.

Blue Dragon-flies can be seen by streams. Beds of nettles may be black with Peacock caterpillars.


In July you find many in the hedge; an Oak hedge may have as many as 300 species of bugs, beetles and moths feeding on the leaves, Rosaceae such as Hawthorn, Blackthorn and Crab-apple as well as Willow also attract a lot. Holly has few species but sometimes rare ones that are nowhere else!

In JULY these insects or invertebrates are important for the hungry nestlings. Seed-eating birds also feed insects to their young to ensue they get water in their diet.

Not so many Insects feed on leaves as plant discourage them; hazel has a thick covering of hairs and oak leaves produce poisonous tannin to put them off.

But you find tiny creatures like Moth and Sawfly caterpillars, also Leaf-beetles, Weevils and their larvae. Other insects feed on plant sap – Capsid bugs, Froghoppers, Leafhoppers and Aphids. These insects attract Predators – Earwigs, Lacewings and Beetles like Ladybirds. Fungi and Algae provide food for Bark-lice.

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