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It is most common in the south west’s temperate rainforest zone.
Favouring well-lit conditions and dry, open situations, it is most often found in tree canopies or on lower branches where trees are well-lit, in woodland or on scattered trees in open moorland. You can also find it on the ground after stormy weather.
Other large, bearded lichens include Usnea ceratina, Usnea dasopoga and Usnea hirta but these lack the sausage-like lobes.
Largely restricted to south-western parts of the UK with most records in south-west England.
However, there is nothing to match seeing it in its natural habitat: atop dramatic coastal cliffs or astride craggy islands.
Globular heads of pink flowers have stalks 5-30cm long. Flattened, linear, dark green leaves.
Across wild, coastal areas throughout the UK – especially Scotland. As well as rocky cliffs, Thrift can also be commonly found brightening up saltmarshes and other sandy areas.
April to July when it flowers.
Has started to appear inland on roadsides as salting creates favourable conditions.
Thrift growing on the Gower
Thrift growing along the coast
Each plant has a small rosette of hairy ragged leaves that are dark green above but whitish and hairy underneath. They’re rounded at the tips and not toothed. The flowers are carried on long stems from the centre of these rosettes, up to 30cm tall. Each narrow and tightly packed bloom – one per stem – is like a dandelion but a paler lemon yellow in colour. They are followed by fluffy seed heads.
Found throughout the UK, but rarer in north-west Scotland.
Grows in dry grassy places like meadows, pastures, verges, lawns, heaths and dunes as well as waste ground.
When in flower, from May to August.
Mouse-ear Hawkweed at Brockles Field
Also known as Common Buttercups, it’s long rooting runners help it to spread across damp areas of grass, which distinguishes it from other buttercup species. It has yellow flowers and hairy leaves divided into 3 lobes.
Creeping Buttercups are found in a variety of damp habitats such as pastures, roadside verges, lawns, tracks and paths.
Creeping Buttercups are widespread and stable throughout the British Isles.
Creeping Buttercup, image by Trevor Dines
Bright yellow discs of tightly packed florets above a rosette of jaggedly toothed leaves are followed by fluffy white seed heads. The plants are perennial and have a long tap root.
Dandelions mostly occur in disturbed habitats such as pastures, roadside verges, lawns, tracks, paths and waste ground.
Dandelions are widespread and stable throughout the British Isles.
Dandelions and daisies on a Wiltshire lawn, image by Archie Thomas
Ashy Mining Bee on Dandelion, image by Pip Gray
It spreads to form small patches of plain green hairless leaves that are carried in pairs and look similar to a large version of Thyme, hence the name.
The tips of the shoots rise up and turn into short flower spikes, bearing a succession of tiny white or pale blue flowers, 5-6mm across. Look closely and you’ll see that their uppermost petal is usually veined with darker blue. Only a few flowers open at a time and their pale colour can make this plant hard to spot.
Found throughout the UK.
Grows in a wide range of dry and damp places including grassy pastures, lawns and verges as well as woodland rides, heaths and cultivated land and waste ground.
When in flower, from March to October.
‘The daisy is a happy flower, And comes at early spring, And brings with it the sunny hour, When bees are on the wing.’ – John Clare, “The Daisy”
A common sight across the UK, daisies are a delightful sign that spring has arrived and summer is on its way.
Each flower has a rosette of small, thin white petals surrounding a bright yellow centre. These are supported by a single stem which grows from a group of dark green rounded leaves. The petals can sometimes be tinged with pink.
Short grassland and meadows.
Very common. Found on grassy areas across the UK.
Daisies in a clump
Common Daisy, image by Trevor Dines
– Geoffrey Grigson, “The Englishman’s Flora”
One of our most magnificent wild flowers with feathery leaves and large purple blooms with a central boss of golden stamens.
The Pasqueflower blooms around Easter, hence the name “Pasque” (meaning “like Paschal”, of Easter). Its bell-like flowers open to track the path of the sun each day, nodding and closing at night. These are often followed by feathery seed heads. It’s a perennial plant, froming a neat clump of soft, hairy leaves.
A large purple bloom with a central boss of golden stamens and feathery leaves.
Dry calcareous grasslands, limestone banks and hillsides.
April when it flowers.
A rare wildflower which has been lost from many of the places it used to grow. Lack of grazing and scrub encroachment pose a serious threat to many of the remaining populations and it is considered “Vulnerable” in Britain.
Pasqueflower, image by Mark Schofield
A low, creeping herb, with long-stalked, light green, trefoil-shaped leaves. The flowers have five white petals, veined in lilac or purple.
In woodland, on hedgerows, banks and in other moist, usually shaded, habitats throughout the British Isles.
In flower April to May, and sometimes a second time in summer.
Remaining widespread throughout the U.K., it is one of the few species able to survive the deep shade of conifer plantations.
If you don’t immediately see it, you can usually smell it – wild garlic has a strong oniony scent that becomes stronger if you crush the leaves. It is a favourite with foragers but be sure not to eat the roots: eating them can have an unpleasant effect on the stomach.
Common across the UK apart from north-east Scotland.
When in bloom, April to June.
‘Ramsons’ is an evolution of the plant’s Old English name: hramsa. The plural of hramsa was hramsan – so ‘ramsons’ is actually a double plural!
Wild Garlic Dorset roadside, image by Joe Costley
Wild garlic in Old Sulehay woods, image byDonna Radley
Wild Garlic, image by Lizzie Wilberforce
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