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Archive for the ‘Denmark’ Category

In May, I made a quick trip to Copenhagen and spent an afternoon walking around the city. At Kastellet, some showy yellow flowers were growing wild in the grass which turned out to be wild tulips. In Danish, they are called Vild Tulipan, the latin name is Tulipa sylvestris. Sylva means forest, and refers to how the flower grows in forests and parks.

Wild Tulip, Copenhagen, Denmark in early May

The wild tulip has linear leaves that are grass-like with no prominent veins, grooves or ridges. The flowers are solitary on a leafless stalk and grow April through May in dry grassy and bare places in the Southern part of Northern Europe (France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Channel Isles, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark).

Wild Tulip, Copenhagen, Denmark in early May

Here is drawing of the flower and its parts from 1885. A member of the lily family, this flower looked a little more droopy with spread out petals than cultivated ones. When I think of tulips, I think of the Netherlands. The wikepedia article on the history of the tulip (and of tulip mania) is quite thorough, if you are interested. The first bulb is believed to have been sent from the Ottoman Empire to Vienna in the mid-1550’s. By the late 1500’s, the Dutch were cultivating the tulip and it became very popular. I hope to go to the Netherlands when the tulips are in bloom to get some good pictures there one day!

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I saw this flower when I was in Denmark in early May. In Danish, the name is Nikkende Fuglemælk, which (according to Google Translate) means Nodding Birds Milk.  I found it growing in the grass at Kastellet in Copenhagen. It was beautiful out – almost summer weather – and these flowers contrasted against the green grass were a nice start to spring in Scandinavia.

Drooping Star of Bethlehem, Copenhagen, Denmark in May

In my Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe book, this flower is called Drooping Star of Bethlehem (Latin name: Ornithogalum nutans) in the Lily family. The leaves are linear and grass-like. These white and slightly nodding flowers have 6 petals in the shape of a star with a green stripe on the back of each petal. In the book, it says it is in a one-sided spike, but I found that these flowers were not on just one side of the spike. They grow from April through May in bare and grassy places in the Southern part of Northern Europe. According to Den Virtuella Floren, this flower blooms rarely in Sweden, but it can be seen in Skåne (Southern Sweden) and is called Aftonstjärna (translation: Evening Star).

Drooping Star of Bethlehem, Copenhagen, Denmark in May

The Latin name, nutans, is from the word nutare which means to nod and was named because of the flowers’ inclination to droop/nod. I like old scientific drawings of flowers, here is one of this flower from 1885. Check out the Yellow Star of Bethlehem post I wrote a couple of years ago to see another closely related flower with a similar name.

Drooping Star of Bethlehem, Copenhagen, Denmark in May

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