Dropwort Filipendula ulmaria
Habitat: damp meadows, by fresh water on stream and river sides, marshes, fens, damp woods Height: Tall, to 1 metre Flowering: June-September
A tall hairless perennial that can form extensive stands.
The flowers are creamy white and fragrant 4-8mm across and have numerous stamens; the tiny flowers are clustered together giving a foamy appearance.
Leaves are pinnate, usually silvery on undersides, the large toothed leaflets are interspersed with small ones.
Meadowsweet is one of the wildflowers I first discovered as a child, close to our home. It used to grow at the bottom of a sloping field close on marshy ground at the side of a stream close to the edge of Hazelwood Forest in Northamptonshire; the strong sweet hay-like scent always takes me back there.
Dropwort Filipendula vugaris
Habitat: Chalk and limestone turf Height: Medium, to 50cm Flowering: May to August
Dropwort is the downland Meadowsweet, differing from its larger moisture-loving in that it has more open clusters of fewer and larger (8-16mm) unscented flowers.
Leaves are darker green than those of Meadowsweet and are largely in a basal rosette and with many small, crowded, finely cut leaflets. Fruit in a group of downy nutlets.
My first sight of a Dropwort plant was on the limestone hillside of Bryn Pydew, a North Wales Wildlife Trust reserve in Conwy, North Wales. Subsequently I found small amounts growing on the steep hillside of Bryn Euryn which have now spread considerably.