ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Brooklime a Herb of of the Beck

Updated on August 6, 2015

Notes from a Lancashire Country Man

Brooklime is a common plant which has an invasive habit. This species has been given my favourite Latin species name of beccabunga. It is probably of Germanic origin back-signifying a brook and bunge alluding to a bunch, or from the Flemish beckpunge meaning mouth smart alluding to the sharp taste, the leaves were once eaten in salads, whichever the case I just love the name which rolls of the tongue.

The common name brooklime also alludes to habitat ie, brook and lime, lime is an old English word for mus, thus a plant that delights to grow in the mud of brooks. It also thrives in the margins of streams, ponds and even lakes. In fact it grows in the same type of habitat as the watercress whose foliage is superficially similar to that of the brooklime. In the margins of a local lake the plant has spread with remarkable rapidity in the last five years or so. Where the margin has silted up in the southern channel the plant has covered a large area. It is possible that an assault on it by the countryside rangers will be required to put a halt on its march.

Invasive habit of Brooklime

Brooklime's invasive habit soon covers large areas if left unchecked. Photograph by D.A.L.
Brooklime's invasive habit soon covers large areas if left unchecked. Photograph by D.A.L.

Basic Biology of Brooklime

The plant has stout , succulent, hollow stems, that root along their length. {see photograph below} where the roots have formed there rises up more erect stems that produce the leaves and flowers. Where the leaves are produce the stem is often tinged with a reddish hue. The foliage on the erect stem parts are short stalked and arranged in opposite pairs. They are oval to oblong in form rather thick and slightly succulent and rough textured. Brooklime has a shiny appearance turning a blackish colour when dried

Flowers---are rather numerous and appear on long stalks from the axil where the leaves join the stem. They are normally a bright blue colour, however, every now and again pink varieties occur. The veins of the petals are of a darker blue colour. There is a white eye in the centre surrounded by a scarlet hue. They are relatively small flowers in comparison with the size of the plant, roughly 5-8mm wide. The flowers are pollinated by insects of which many visit the flowers. They flower from May to September.

Stem of Brooklime

Brooklime-note the roots which have a creeping habit. Photograph by D.A.L.
Brooklime-note the roots which have a creeping habit. Photograph by D.A.L.

Medicinal and Culinary Uses.

--Tannin, volatile oil,bitter principle are the main constituents of brooklime.

Brooklime is now considered of little use as a medicinal herb . However, in the past it was used to cure all kind of afflictions from gout and swellings to burns. It was considered as a mild diuretic.

In culinary preparations ---they can be added to salads, mixed with water cress or cooked with other strongly flavoured greens. Personally I find them a little unpalatable. Conversely I know many people who do find them wholesome and enjoyable.

In the garden This plant attracts wildlife. The plants requirements is wet soil and grows in water. It is a fine marginal plant for ponds and grows well in bog gardens. However, because of its invasive habit it needs to be kept in check. It will also grow well in woodland gardens,and sunny edges. It is a good plant to attract bees.

Propagation--seed may be sown in autumn in a cold frame. When the plants are large enough to handle they may be placed in individual pots. However, the best way is by division which is very easy. Any shoot pulled away will easily grow on.

Brooklime

brooklime growing by the waters edge. Photograph by D.A.L.
brooklime growing by the waters edge. Photograph by D.A.L.
The plant also grows in muddy areas away from water. Photograph by D.A.L.
The plant also grows in muddy areas away from water. Photograph by D.A.L.
The long flower stalks arise from the axil where the leaf joins the stem.Photograph by D.A.L.
The long flower stalks arise from the axil where the leaf joins the stem.Photograph by D.A.L.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave 

      8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi jill, I know it is common throughout Europe and in parts of Asia. However, I am not sure about your homeland. May be you could find out and let me know. The scientific name of Veronica beccabunga should help you. The scientific names as you know are unique to that plant. Thank you for reading.

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 

      8 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks for this highly informative hub D.A.L.

      I'm trying to recall if we have a similar plant here in the Philippines. Would you know if this is endemic there or does it have a wider distribution? I'm not so sure if it is similar to what I saw here.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave 

      8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Darlen , hello my friend thank you for your usual kind comments. I agree that plants and trees tend to connect in some way or another.

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      8 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      What is so interesting to me is I have always felt that trees and plants grow better when they can connect with other flora. Throughout the winter months I had numerous plants inside the house and they were all but together, enjoying the sunshine to grow. Many of them drop a part of their plant inside the pots next to them, they seem to do better when the are in a group. Just like humans need to connect so does flora and trees. Excellent hub, hundreds of thumb up, and all the about.

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave 

      8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      PeggyW, your welcome Thank you for reading and for leaving your comment.

      timorous, thank you. You type which ever way you wish my friend.

      Hi, Carol, plants are fascinating and always interesting as you know. Thank you for reading.

    • reddog1027 profile image

      reddog1027 

      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Great hub. I am always interested in how even plants can jump the garden fence and become part of the native landscape.

    • timorous profile image

      Tim Nichol 

      8 years ago from Me to You

      Another fine hub D.A.L.(that's difficult to type..can I just type all in lowercase, or DAL without the periods? heheh)

      My mum used to have a similarly invasive plant with a similar growth habit. I don't remember what it was called though.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Interesting! I had never previously heard of this plant. Thanks for introducing it to me.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)