7th March

Welcome to the Eightfold Year. Every day a different painting will appear, along with moon phases, saints days, seasonal plants and other festive celebrations.

You can find out more about the concept of the Eightfold Year here.

We hope you enjoy this website. We will be adding content as we go through the year and welcoming your feedback and suggestions.

Onwards and Upwards!

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Glen Lyon, Scotland, Spring 2007: Jamie Reid

Moon Phases, March 2015:
Full Moon - March 5, 18:06
Third Quarter - March 13, 17:48
New Moon – March 20, 09:36
First Quarter – March 27, 07:43

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CURRENT MOON

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Early March at the plot, Liverpool, Spring 2011: Saul Hughes

Saint's Day:
Perpetua and Felicitas

Festival:
Commemoration of Thomas Aquinas, Doctor and Poet, 1274 CE (Anglicanism)
One of the days dedicated to Vejovis (Roman Empire)
Teacher's Day (Albania)

Flowering Now by Saul Hughes: Scurvy Grass
Cochlearia Officinalis.
Family: Cruciferae. (Brassica).
Gaelic Names: ‘Maraich’, ‘Plaigh Na Carra’, ‘Duinem Aig Am Bheil Carr’ and Biolair Tragha.
Also known as Spoon Wort and Scurvy Weed.

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Scurvy Grass is very common along the shores of these Isles, and can frequently be found inland growing alongside the rivers. The name Scurvy Grass arises from its use in the prevention of scurvy, hence also the name of Scurvy Weed. The name of the Genus Cochlearia is from the Latin Cochlearis meaning Spoon shaped, as the leaves resembled the ancients designs of the spoon; and is the origin for the English country name of Spoon Wort, the name Wort is an Anglo-Saxon name for any healing plant. The name of the species Officinalis indicates that this plant is the one that is officially used in herbal medicine, as quite often the plants of any given genus have a large number of representatives indicated by the species names, the Officinalis being the one that is recommended for use.
The name of the family order that this belongs to Cruciferae is derived from the Latin ‘Crux’, ‘Crucis’, a Cross and ‘Fera’ meaning to bear, as the plants of this family grouping have their petals arranged in the form of a cross. The Cruciferae family is also known as the Brassica family, the name Brassica being derived from the Celtic name ‘Bresic’ meaning cabbage.
The Gaelic names of ‘Maraich’ mean ‘Sailor’ from its use by them on long sea journeys to ward of the scurvy. ‘Plaigh Na Carra’ means the ‘Plague of Leprosy’ from its use in fighting that dreaded illness. ‘Duinem Aig Am Bheil Carr’ means ‘a man who has scurvy’ and ‘Biolair Tragha’ is a descriptive term Biolair (dainty) and Tragha (shore) in reference to its appearance and were it is to be found. In the Welsh tongue it is known as ‘Mor Luyau’ meaning ‘sea spoon’.

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Medicinally Scurvy Grass contains Vitamin C, Glucosilinates (Glucosilinates are contained in all members of the Brassica grouping in varying degrees and they are currently under investigation for mitigating cancer), Tannin and an essential oil containing sulphur. Its actions are Aperient (Laxative), Antiscorbutic (preventing scurvy), Astringent (shrinks and constricts body tissue) and as a Diuretic (Elevates the rate of urination).
The whole herb was greatly collected and used on long sea voyages because of its capability in keeping at bay the dreaded scurvy, the bane of many a sailor. It contains many minerals and as such was widely used as a tonic, and many coastal towns served scurvy grass ale. As the plant is astringent it was used to staunch nose bleeds and any other wounds that would issue blood. Because it was diuretic it was also used for the treatment of kidney stones and Edema or dropsy which was an accumulation of fluids beneath the skin. The essential oil of the plants was considered of benefit in paralytic and rheumatic complaints. The Highlanders and Islanders of Scotland greatly prized the herb and used it for all of the above as well as employing it for easing the sharp pains of a stitch, added with butter it was employed as a gentle purge; instead of butter the Islanders of St Kilda would use the melted fat of a sea bird. Scurvy Grass was collected as well as cultivated and was eaten at breakfast, and added to salads to provide a hot taste; it was also made into a poultice for cramps and applied to boils. The Rev John Brand (1668-1738) in his ‘A brief description of Orkney, Zetland, Pightland-Firth and Caithness’, published in 1701, states that: ‘The Shetland (Zetland) Islanders have much scurvy grass; God so ordering it in his wise providence that ‘Juxta Venenum Nascitur Antidotum’, that seeing the scurvy is a common disease of the country, they should have the remedy at hand’.

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The plant has a salty taste and as such was used by ancient herbalist for the treatment of gout.
The great herbalist Nicholas Culpepper (1616-1654) recommended it as a ‘purge and cleanse for the blood, liver and spleen for all of which diseases arise there it is of singular good. The decoction being good for opening obstructions, evacuates cold clammy and phlegmatic humours both from the liver and spleen, wasting and consuming both the swelling and hardness thereof, and bringing the body to a more lively colour’. He also states ‘The juice also helps all foul ulcers and sores in the mouth; if it be gargled and used outwardly it cleanses the skin from spots, marks or scars’.
Magically it was placed under the government and virtues of the planet Jupiter.
Many flies, small bees and leaf miners especially the Cochlearia Insularis and the Cochlearia Contractus visit this plant as well as the red spider mite of the order Tetranychidae which can be seen all over it on the pictures I took. The Large White (Pieris Brassicae) Small White (Pieris Rapae) and the Orange Tip (Anthocharis Cardamines) butterflies all feed on this plant as does the Diamond Back moth (Plutella Xylostella). *

Also on this day:

321 – Emperor Constantine I decrees that the dies Solis Invicti (sun-day) is the day of rest in the Empire.

1876 – Alexander Graham Bell is granted a patent for an invention he calls the telephone.

1912 – Roald Amundsen announces that his expedition had reached the South Pole on December 14, 1911.

1971 – Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivers his historic "This time the struggle is for our freedom" speech at Ramna Race Course, calling upon the Bengali people to prepare for the freedom struggle ahead.

1985 – The song "We Are the World" has its international release. Thank You USA.

2007 – British House of Commons votes to make the upper chamber, the House of Lords, 100% elected.


* All information regarding the uses of the plants is exactly for that informational purposes only, and that the author and owners of the web do not encourage anyone to be eating, or disturbing wild plants, but merely to admire them in their natural environment and to ponder on their rise and fall within human culture.