Cerinthe major – Honeywort

It’s officially the first day of Spring here, a glorious sunny day, and here’s a photo to celebrate. I was immensely cheered yesterday to find this Honeywort (Cerinthe major) on a Sunday afternoon stroll. That’s perhaps the wrong word: I was hunting flowers and M was hunting wild asparagus, of which she found a handful for an omelette, another spring tradition.

I don’t know why in five years of searching, eyes always on the ground, I’ve never found this plant before since it’s not uncommon. But yesterday there were clumps of it all over that hillside, unmistakeable with the characteristic leaves blotched with white, and the two-coloured corolla. It’s a member of the Boraginaceae family which mostly have blue or red flowers as borage itself does, of course. I see from the internet that there’s a purple variety of Cerinthe popular in gardens – a reversion to type, perhaps.

No time to look for music today. I’m preparing a post on almond trees – also seen on yesterday’s walk – more fascinating and mysterious the more I read, and that will have some jazz as usual. Happy Spring!



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12 responses to “Spring

  1. I’m so happy for spring to come. It has been delayed here by a terrible winter, and we are tired to the bone of cold, damp, miserable winter. We’ve had 80 inches of rain in the past six months. May spring come here, too.

    • I’m wishing on your spring to come soon, in all senses. ‘Your’ autumn crocus has put forth a great clump of leaves in the garden – they’ll dry back in the summer but they’ll be busy making food for some wonderful autumn flowers. Good things come in their time!

  2. We don’t get the Cerinthe wild here, but the garden plant does well. I’m looking forward to your post on almonds. Mine is currently flowering like mad, but I rarely get any nuts.

  3. cilshafe

    What an interesting plant. I noticed immediately that it has spotted leaves similar to lungwort, while its flower resemble those of comfrey, both in the Borage family I think.
    Enjoy your asparagus omelette, and your Spring.

  4. I will have to watch for this plant, I don’t know it. Our garden near Carpentras is full of native Coronilla, all blooming furiously at the moment, along with the mahonia, and the planted forsythia. Lots of yellow. I never liked forsythia, as it is nothing after its bloom period, but seeing it flower early has changed my mind! It was here already, so I will let it stay!
    bonnie in provence

    • I’ve always found Spring a bit too yellow. So much gorse (in Wales) or Coronilla and Genista here seems like a design fault to me. But there’s always the orchids when you get to look closer.

      • Well. me too, yellow has never been my favorite. But we have lots of orchids on the property also, I believe they are Himantoglossum robertianum which are very common, but I love them anyway.

  5. Much looking forward to your almond post. Here was my own effort at this large topic: http://michaelpeverett.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/almonds-sweet-and-bitter.html . Lovely to see the Cerinthe / Honeywort. How do you identify what plant you’re seeing? Do you use a French Flora or something in English? I’d love to know because when I’m in S. France or Spain I really struggle to identify all the plants I don’t know from the UK.

    • Thanks for taking the time to leave this interesting comment – I had a quick look at your blog, which is full of things which capture my imagination – I’ll be paying a longer visit to take it all in. And your almond post was good material to add to what I’m collecting.
      I mainly use ‘Wild Flowers of the Mediterranean’, by Marjorie Blamey (artist) and Christopher Grey-Wilson because it’s easy to use, has 2700 illustrations and some good info on distribution, flowering times etc. to check identifications. But it helps to have some idea of the botanical families to know where to start. However the botany is a bit out of date, as family names and even species names have changed a lot recently with all the DNA research. I’ve never got on with the guides which start with flower colour, or habitat, but maybe you would. As a short guide, ‘La Nature méditerranéenne’ by Philippe Martin has a lot of the things you find here – and mushrooms and insects etc too – but only lists just over 400 plants.If you have access to the web while you’re here, the site I find best is http://www.florealpes.com (in French) : I reviewed books and sites on my blog some time ago.
      Looking forward to reading and commenting chez vous!

  6. Thank you! I do have a copy of Blamey/Grey-Wilson but for some reason I often seem to be unable to locate the obviously commonplace weeds that I want to look up. On the other hand http://www.florealpes.com looks a terrific resource!

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