This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
Local but well dispersed, Ploughman's Spikenard is found at the present day in Europe from Denmark southwards and Western Asia, but not in any early deposits. In Great Britain it is found in the Peninsula, Channel, and Thames provinces, and in Anglia generally, except in Hunts; in the Severn province; in S. Wales, except in Brecon; in N. Wales, except in Montgomery; in the Trent province; in the Mersey province, except in Cheshire; in the Humber, except in S.E. and N.W. Yorks; and in Westmorland.
Ploughman's Spikenard is a plant of the uplands, especially common in the western counties, where there are hilly regions generally. It grows on the open hill-side, as well as in woods and copses where there are stony banks, with Hawkweed and other Composites, such as Wall Hawkweed.
This is an erect, rigid, tall, and simple-stemmed plant, growing in scattered clumps. The stem is herbaceous and leafy. The leaves are downy below, with coarsely-toothed margin, lance-shaped to egg-shaped, dark-green. The upper leaves are entire.
The flowerheads are yellow, in corymbs. The phyllaries or whorl of leaflike organs on the outside are lance-shaped, the inner ones linear, acute. They are bent back. The rays of the flowerheads are small, and not much longer than the involucres or whorls of bracts, which are unequal. The pappus or hair is red, and the fruit is hairy. The ray florets are divided and in a single row.
The height of this plant is about 2 ft. It is in flower in July and August. It is a decidu-ous, herbaceous perennial, propagated by seeds.
The ray florets may be female or neuter, ligu-late, with slender style lobes, while the florets of the disk are tubular and bisexual, with the lobes of the style short.
This plant is visited by many insects, Apidae, Halictus leucozonus, H. cylindricus, H. macula-tus, H. albipes, Nomada solidaginis, Sphegidae, Serceris.
The fruits are provided with pappus, which is rough and in one row, and they are thus adapted for dispersal by the wind.
Ploughman's Spikenard is a rock plant, growing on barren, rocky ground on rock soil, or on sand derived from the rocks of chiefly older date, or on calcareous soils.
Two moths, Gelechia bifractella, Pterophorus lithodactylus, feed on it.
Inula, Horace, is derived from the Greek Helenion, a plant supposed to have been the elecampane, and the second Latin name refers to the squarrose nature of the leaves and bracts of the involucre.
This plant is called Cinnamon Root, Fleawort, Ploughman's Spikenard. Gerarde says of the first: "In English it may be called the cinnamon roote ... by reason of that sweete and aromaticall savour which his roote conteinneth and yieldeth". It was supposed when hung up in a room to drive away gnats and fleas.
Photo. Flatters & Garnett - Ploughman's Spikenard (Inula Squarrosa, Bernh.)
Essential Specific Characters:154. Inula squarrosa, Bernh. - Stem tall, downy, leaves dull-green, ovate, lanceolate, downy, dentate, flowerheads yellow, terminal, in a corymb, scales of the involucre reflexed, pappus red.