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A plant of downland that is easily overlooked, not because it is small but because it looks a bit like a Ragwort that has gone over.


Ploughmans spikenard: blister creme?

Post date: Wednesday, 24 August, 2016 - 16:57

Ploughman's spikenard (Inula conyzae) is plant of the downlands that is easily overlooked, not because it is small, because it isn't, but because it looks a bit like a ragwort that has gone over. It grows on calcareous soils on wasteland, grassland and scrub and so will be found on the Purbeck Ridge and along the cliffs where the earth is, perhaps, a bit bare. 

It has a strange name and I have no idea where it comes from, there is very little information elsewhere on the web about this flower. It is a bit prickly, or spiky, and it is out in the late summer and early autumn when traditionally the fields would have been ploughed after the harvest so perhaps ploughman's spikenard is something to do with the spiky plant that ploughmen tread on? It seems nard was an ointment made from a Himalayan flower so was probably quite exclusive and expensive. Maybe a cheap form of nard was made from this plant and ploughmen used it treat blisters on their hands? Any further ideas are welcome!
It is a member of the daisy family and the nondescript flower heads turn into clusters of seeds heads, much like groundsel.

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Ploughmans-spikenard
Scientific Name Inula conyzae
Family Daisy family - Compositae
Status Scarce
Interest Level
Species Family Daisy Family - Compositeae
Flower Colour Group Yellow
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
  • 09 - September
Preferred Environment
Look for Tight rays of petals with a hint of orange
Additional Identification Notes

This species is often found in these habitats:

Habitat(s) Relationship
SM: Mixed Scrub Associated