Come and be part of a global voice for wild plants and fungi
This autumn, help us find the Britain’s most colourful and important fungi – waxcaps.
Make a positive impact in protecting remarkable lichens.
Go the extra mile and run wild for Plantlife
Become a Plantlife member today and together we will rebuild a world rich in plants and fungi
Colt’s-foot is a bright, yellow daisy and is one of the first wild flowers to emerge in Spring.
The single flowers are held on scaly, crimson stems. As these start to die back, flat-fans of dark green leaves appear. These leaves are silver-white on their undersides.
Colt’s-foot grows in a range of habitats with open or disturbed ground, including arable land, waste land, shingle and scree, and even landslips. It grows particularly well in waste, rough and cultivated places where there is poor drainage.
Colt’s-foot is one of the early arrivals of spring. The best time to see it is throughout March and April.
Narcissus pseudonarcissus ssp pseudonarcissus
Fond of moist ground, Butterbur is a pink, tassled wildflower can often be found carpeting riversides and damp ditches.
With so many small flowers packed densely together, Butterbur is very popular with bees. It is a great source of nectar early in the year, when wildflowers are still rather sparse.
Flower spikes appear before the leaves and have tiny pale pink flowers arranged down stems which are 10-40cm tall. The leaves are very large, sometimes almost 1 meter wide and are downy-grey underneath.
Butterbur is found throughout the UK, but is rarer in central and northern Scotland. It inhabits wet meadows, streamsides, roadside ditches and copses.
The best time to see Butterbur is in spring, throughout March, April and May.
Fingered Speedwell is a low-growing, hairy plant with deep blue flowers.
Fingered Speedwell has leaves that rarely grow longer than a centimetre and are deeply divided into parallel-fingered lobes. Its upper leaves are stalkless, whereas the lower leaves have short stalks. Its flowers are borne at the tip of the stem amongst leaf-like structures called bracts.
Fingered Speedwell is restricted to just a few sites in East Anglia (Breckland) and Yorkshire. Generally an arable species, it is typically found in the margins of fields sown with winter cereals and also on fallow land or waste places. It has also been recorded in tracks, gravel pits, sand banks and disturbed parched grassland. It favours sandy calcareous or slightly acidic soils.
Fingered Speedwell is classified as ‘Endangered’ and is therefore considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild. It is protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This makes it an offence to intentionally pick, uproot or destroy any plants. The species is also listed as a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.
The main causes of the decline of Fingered Speedwell are a direct result of the intensification of arable farming. Key factors include the introduction of broad-spectrum herbicides and the high increase in nitrogen fertiliser used on modern crop systems. Several sites have also been lost to development.
A favourite of Wordsworth, Lesser Celandine is one of the first wildflowers to bloom.
In fact, the 21 February has been known as Celandine Day since 1795, when the renowned naturalist Gilbert White noted that the first celandines usually appeared in his Hampshire village of Selborne.
Its bright, yellow star-shaped flowers often blanket the ground. Each is about 3cm across with eight to twelve petals. It has rosettes of glossy dark green heart-shaped mottled long-stalked leaves.
Woodland and hedge banks, particularly damp places. Also meadows and stream-sides.
You can spot Lesser Celandine from late February to May.
One of it’s local names is “Pilewort” since the herb was traditionally given for haemorrhoids. This was based on the doctrine of signatures since the knobbly tubers were thought to resemble piles!
Why not take along Plantlife’s winter wildflower spotter sheet and see what common species from catkins to snowdrops you can spot out and about?
A sign that spring is on the way! Primrose’s sunny yellow flowers are a common sight across the UK.
The name derives from the Latin prima rosa meaning ‘first rose’ of the year, despite not being a member of the rose family. In different counties of England it is also referred to as Butter Rose, Early Rose, Easter Rose, Golden Rose and Lent Rose.
Pale yellow, green-veined, flowers, 3cm across, borne singly on stalks. Rosette of wrinkled leaves tapering gradually to stalk, each up to 15cm long.
In large populations there is a variation in the colour, texture and size of primrose flowers. Native species can produce flowers in shades ranging from pale cream to deep yellow.
Bizarre forms include an umbellate form in which flowers form a spray on top of a longer stalk similar to a Cowslip, and doubles.
Woodland clearings, hedgebanks, waysides, railway banks and open grassland preferring damp, clayey soils.
You can find Primrose appearing throughout Spring.
Primrose is a native plant in Britain, and its distribution remains stable. Its decline in areas of East Anglia – following a series of hot, dry summers from 1970 onwards – hints at a possible threat posed by climate change.
The main threat is the loss of habitat. Inappropriate management of woodland and waysides can all contribute to a local decline.
We will keep you updated by email about our work, news, campaigning, appeals and ways to get involved. We will never share your details and you can opt out at any time. Read our Privacy Notice.