Well, a case in point is this. T'other day I was nonchalantly strolling down the lane when my companion said, 'Hey Mel ,what's that plant down there?'
I looked down at the verge, perplexed. Clearly this plant had grown up over night. It was definitely not there when I walked to the station the previous day. Definitely.
Here is the magical plant. How it has escaped the predations of the over-enthusiastic verge mowing round here I cannot say. But it has. And thank goodness.
Not exactly invisible or microscopic is it?
Obviously in the pea family but not a plant I know well. It is Astragalus glycyphyllos otherwise known as wild liquorice (or licorice) or milk vetch.
I checked up in Dony immediately to see if it was recorded in this area and it wasn't. Maybe a new record for this km square? So I photographed it and emailed the county recorder in my excitement. Clearly it is not an exciting finding as I didn't hear back. Shame. I think it's rather nice anyway.
It's more famous cousin Astragalus membranaceous is a native of China and called huang qi (which means yellow leader). The root is highly prized as a tonic and used in Chinese herbal tradition to 'strengthen the immune system'.
John Dony (1976) Bedfordshire Plant Atlas. Borough of Luton Museum and Art Gallery