The hazel is a native Irish tree and is called Coll in Irish. Many Irish place names are called after it such as Collon in Co. Louth. Tradition has it that The Salmon of Knowledge got his wisdom from eating the hazel nuts that fell into the River Boyne from the trees that grew along its banks.
The hazel is quite a low tree and in February or March catkins appear on the bare branches. These are the flowers of the hazel and are pollinated by the wind. The soft leaves appear in April and these are followed in August by the cobnuts. These are a great source of food for squirrels, mice, jays and rooks.
The trunk of the hazel consists of several different stems.
Our wildflower for today is the Speedwell. It is a common bright blue flower that occurs in unmown parts of the lawn and grass. Each flower has four petals, three of them are the same size and one is a little smaller.
In olden times people boiled it with other herbs and fed it to cows and calves to protect them from bad luck. It was also sewn into the garments of people when they were going on a journey to protect them from accidents.
I hope that you are all enjoying getting out there in the countryside and learning about the plants around you.