The JUNE Hedge

A month in the life of a Hedge!


These are the commonest wild flowers. There are between 150 and 160 species in Britain, the writer does not know how many in Ireland. Each flower consists of 3 stamens and a central ovary crowned by 2 feathery stigmas. Each little flower is enclosed in a pair of pale-coloured scales, the lemma and the palea. The florets are grouped in spikelets. The leaves are composed of 2 parts; the leaf-blade and a basal sheath which encircles th stem. Where the 2 join there is a small scale called the’ligule’ which lies tight against the stem.

Oat-grass or Arrhenatherum elatius. It is most at home in the hedgerow. Farmers dislike it as it gets into their corn.

Cocksfoot or Dactylis glomerata is easy to recognise by its fat purple flower-heads with spiky lobes. It is suppose to resemble the foot of a fowl.The stalk comes away and you can nibble the white base full of sugar.

Cuckoo-spit This is a patch of foam on many hedge plants. If it is smeared flat a little yellow creature can be found – the larva of the common frog-hopper, Philaenus spumarius. It abelons to the family including aphids and scale insects which feed by sucking plant juices through their sharp mouths. They have big hind legs letting them hop. Th spip protects the larva from predators and from desiccation while it sits feeding.


Elder (Sambucus nigra) is in flower, it loves the phosphates in old compost heaps and is often found with privet by the ruin of a roadside cottage. Its berries can be used for wine,the blossoms used for a cordial which is good for the blood.


There are 90 genera in the family of ROSACEAE and 17 of the genera can be found in Ireland.

Burnet rose is about 30 cm in height and flowers in June. The stems are completely covered with many straight thorns of different lengths and the flower is a single white or pink rose. It has five wide petals and the styles hardly prokect from the many stamens. The fruit or hips is black. It has a strong smell and can be found in hedges by the sea.

Dog Rose – the flowers are white or pink and the stigmas make a short, round group in the middle of the flower.

Sweet Briar – loves lime-rich soil. The flowers are deep pink and the leaves when torn smell of apples.

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