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Colour comes to Heene Cemetery’s website

Now that Heene’s summer wild flowers have died back and been replaced with the Cemetery’s autumnal shades colour has come to our website. On the species search page, you can now search for flowering plants according to their colour.

Just as Heene’s summer wild flowers have died back and been replaced with the Cemetery’s autumnal shades we have added colour to our website. On the species search page, you can now search for flowering plants according to their colour. This is a huge step forwards and is worth us introducing.

Colour comes to Heene Cemetery’s website: you can now search for flowering plants according to their colour.

The ‘Flower Colour’ value can be specified as being any of white, yellow, pink, green, purple, cream, blue, red, orange and violet. Yes, “any of” means just that. Select two colours, say pink and white and you will be shown flowers that are both pink and white, such as the Common Spotted Orchid, as well as ones that are only pink, such as the Creeping Thistle, and ones that are only white, such as Hogweed.

You may notice what appears to be an anomaly. For example, search for only white flowers and amongst the list will be the purple-looking Common Comfrey. However, when you read the details for Common Comfrey, you’ll see that its flowers can be pink, purple or white, even though we have only photographed the pinkish purple version. Many other flowers that appear in different colours variants may also be listed, even though their colour in the accompanying photograph might not match up.

Common Comfrey: this one looks pinky-purple. It can be pink or purple or even white.

This degree of detail is tremendously useful. We have a part-time member of the Friends volunteers who can probably name any flowering plant by sight, but the rest of us are less adept and need to look it up. If a volunteer or a visitor wishes to know the name of a particular flower, we can now run a search on that flower’s colour and be faced with a smaller set of individual species to search through. Instead of browsing through all 184 flowering plants (at the time of writing), we can look for that very white one amongst a smaller subset of 44 – or 42 yellow ones, 40 pinks, 39 greens, 32 purple, 27 creams, 16 blues, 13 reds, 8 oranges and 4 violets.

White is the most common colour of flowering plants in Heene Cemetery, as in this hawthorn blossom, photographed in early May. (Not coincidentally, May is another name for the flower/tree).

Of course, one person’s blue is another person’s purple, just as some flowers are neither cream nor yellow, but a ‘yellowish-cream’. A degree of tolerance is needed. And this isn’t to do with colour-blindness (which usually afflicts sufferers over the distinction between red and green, although blue and yellow can sometimes be problematic). In reality we each see colour slightly differently. Some of us may also see colour differently with our own eyes, one eye registering some or all colours as being less bright than the other eye.

So this new search facility is an aid, and shouldn’t be taken too dogmatically.

Blue is not as frequent a colour of flowering plants in Heene Cemetery as perhaps you’d expect. Here is Trailing Bellflower. At the time of writing, of the 184 flowering plants we’ve counted, 16 may be blue (either completely or sometimes or with other colours).

Most of the 39 plants tagged as being green are more likely to be grasses and trees. Many of these may be tagged as having flowers that are a mix of green and cream. Holly is tagged as being white – as that’s the colour of its tiny flowers that show up in May. Its dazzling red autumnal berries (which start off being green, then cream) are fruits, not flowers. It is the colour of a flower’s petals, florets and spikelets that the website now indexes, not its fruit. Similarly, the lovely Egremont Russet apple trees that produce tasty green and brown apples in September and October produce pink and white blossom in May, and it is these colours that are used for this new search tool.

Honeysuckle is both cream and pink at the same time.

Finally, at the time of writing we have 15 flowering plants that we’ve not yet found to photograph, so you’ll not see what might otherwise look like discrepancies with these plants. These individual species were spotted by a botanist in recent years, but have not been spotted since then by any volunteer wielding a camera. If you’d like to come and rectify that, the Cemetery is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays between 2 and 4, weather permitting, so come and pay us a visit! Heene Cemetery is a colourful place whether you can name its different flowering plants or not!