Bog Asphodel

Latin name: Narthecium ossifragum

Family: Liliaceae

Spot the bog asphodel at the right time of the year and you’ll be treated to a visual delight. During July and August it has between six and 12 star-like bright yellow flowers with stamens consisting of orange woolly filaments and orange-red anthers. After flowering in September, the whole plant becomes tinted with orange, giving it a vivid hue. When seen growing in patches, it is a stunning sight.

As well as being an attractive plant, bog asphodel has a number of uses and has been used historically as a source of saffron and for producing a hair-dye.

As the name suggests, bog asphodels are found in bogs but also in other wet peaty places such as wet heaths and moors on the fells. They are thought to be common in western and northern Britain but are rare within central and eastern England.

In the Yorkshire Dales National Park, bog asphodels are quite frequent in bogs and acidic flushes on peaty moorland and waterlogged areas of some valley bottoms. They are most likely to be seen in the central and northern areas of the National Park where they often grow alongside cross-leaved heath and round-leaved sundew.

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There is a freshness and at times a undefineable fragrance to the air at high altitude in the Pennines. Joan E. Duncan & R.W.Robson

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