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Plants are met with both in naturalistic form such as oak trees and leaves (often rendered in their natural colours or proper) and stylised, for example cinquefoils, trefoils, fraises (idealised strawberry flowers) and above all 5-petalled heraldic roses (right).Heraldic rose These are said to be barbed and seeded referring to the 5 sepals between the petals and the central disk of “seeds”, which I suspect are botanically anthers. These are usually shown green and gold or yellow respectively, and this is what is meant if a rose is said to be barbed and seeded proper.

A chaplet is a wreath or garland of flowers; it is seen for example in the Lascelles arms, Argent three chaplets gules


An example of trees in arms is seen in Stonegrave Church in monuments to the Thornton family (incidentally a nice use of a canting coat, playing on the element “Thorn” in the name).

Thornton (ancient) The ancient form of the arms (left) is argent a chevron sable between three thorn leaves (or sprigs) proper, and this shield is shown on a ?13th century effigy. The later version is very similar, argent a chevron sable between three thorn trees proper, shown right; this form occurs in several places in the church, notably in a nice modern window in the south aisle. Thornton

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© Gill Smith 1997, 1998