Codlins and Cream

great willowherb

Great willowherbEpilobium hirsutum, gets its common name codlins-and-cream because the rose pink of the flowers resembles the colour of a codlin, or codling, apple when cut into or cooked.

In my photograph taken at the top end of Newmillerdam, you can see the flower’s four stamens dotted with grains of pollen surrounding the pistil, which is made up of the female parts of the flower: the ovary, style and stigma.

great willowherb

With stamens and stigma in the same flower, how does the willowherb avoid being accidentally self-fertilised?

As a new flower opens, the pistil emerges first with the stigma – the receptive part of the flower – appearing as a furry-looking white cross in the centre. You can see that this is already dotted with pollen.

Once the flower has been fertilised the stigma is discarded and the stamens start to appear.

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