Some similarities to : Hemp-agrimony
and to Common Valerian.
Red Valerian is a Mediterranean species introduced to the UK before 1600. It comes in red, pink and white strains, plus a much rarer cream variety. It is fragrant, smelling of scent.
Fully naturalised in dry places on walls, rocks, cliffs, alkaline or sand banks, and quarries, especially near the sea.
Flower heads are flattish to curved at first, becoming domed a while later and finally elongating and opening out before turning to seed, when the petals and spurs fall off. Later the seed capsule un-furls its integral parachute to be carried off on the wind to seed other places just like Dandelion seeds do. The spur at the rear of the flower is short.
|PARACHUTE (Pappus) and COTTON-HAIRED SEEDS
It is one of the very few (your Author doesn't yet know how many) flowers to have parachute seeds that do not belong to the Daisy and Dandelion Family (Asteraceae). But the parachutes are one for each flower, and the flowers are in singles, and open in a different way to those of Asteraceae.
Willowherbs such as Rosebay Willowherb and Great Willowherb (which are within the Onagraceae family) also release parachute seeds. Other plants that have cottony seeds (but not parachutes) are the Willows (Salix genus of the Salicaceae Family) of such as
Pussy Willow, and the Clemetis genus plants of the Ranunculaceae family such as Traveller's-Joy and Virgin's-Bower and plants of the Eriophorum genus (in the Poaceae family) such as Bog Cotton. On Water Avens the hairs are branched.
It should also be realised that by no means every member of the Asteraceae family has parachute seeds; Daisies (Bellis genus) do not, and neither do a great many other Asteraceae Genera such as
Sunflower, which has seeds without hairs. But Cat's-ears, Goat's-beards, Hawkweeds, Fleabanes, Ragworts, Colt's-foot, Thistles, Butterbur, Dandelion, Nipplewort, Hemp-agrimony, Globe Artichoke, Hawk's-beards(?), Sow-thistles, Lettuces(?) do.