wild flora I.D.2--spring flora.

Identifying wild flora with the aid of photographs and explanatory text

Colt'sfoot Tussilago farfara

Photograph by Dal

Description of the colt'sfoot

The flowers of this plant appear early in the year ,late February or March. They appear before the foliage thus are known in some regions as "Sons before Fathers". The display single dandelion like flowers upon stems that are covered with over lapping scale like bracts.

Each flower consists of disc florets in the centre and ray florets that surround it. This is typical of many members of the daisy family.

The foliage

When the flowers die down or have been flowering for some days the foliage appears. The shape  is superficially similar to the foot of a young horse, hence the plants common name. The grow on long stalks. The leaf margins are toothed. The upper side of the leaf has a light covering of a cob web like felt while beneath is much more felty. The leaf which is small when it appears can grow much larger during summer months as much as 20cm wide. Associated page COLTSFOOT , TUSSILAGO FARFARA a more detailed look at the plant, including its medicinal uses.

Coltsfoot foliage.

Photographs by Dal

Lesser celandine, Ranunculus ficaria

Photographs by Dal


This member of the buttercup family produces its foliage as early as January. Like all members of the buttercup family it is poisonous. The flowers are yellow and with 8-12 narrow petals that form a star shape. The flowers are borne singly on long stalks which only fully open in bright light or sunshine. As the flowers get older they sometimes fade to white. They have three green sepals beneath the flower, of a clasping nature. Flowers are 2-3cm wide. The seeds are contained in globular achenes similar to those of the buttercup.

The leaves are heart shaped, deeply cleft near the base they have blunt tips They are dark glossy green often mottled with paler markings.

They flower from March to May. By June the foliage has died right back and will not be seen again until the following January

They are relatively low growing from 7-20cm

Associated page LESSER CELANDINE.  A more detailed article about this plant including the medicinal uses.


COW PARSLEY, Anthriscus sylvatica. Courtesy of Rasbak CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

Anthriscus sylvestris Fluitenkruidbloemen.jpg

Above the winter foliage of cow parsley.

This is the first of the umbelliers {the Parsley family} now classed as the Apiaceae Family.They begin to flower in the north of England in late April  and throughout May, when mile after mile of country lanes are filled with their blooms. However as the photograph above demonstrates the foliage can be encountered throughout the year.

The leaves as a whole are triangular in outline composed of feathery leaflets.The leaflets are toothed. Where the leaf stem joins the stem there is a sheath a characteristic of this family.

The small white flowers appear in frothy umbels.


Below flowers of cow parsley and seeds below

Photographs by Dal

Cow parsley

The cow parsley attains the height of 60-150cm.

The flowers are succeeded by fruits which are a narrow capsule known as a mericarp with beak like tips.

Similar looking plants --Upright hedge parsley a smaller but similar looking plant that flowers from July to September.

Associated pages- THE COW PARSLEY- a more detailed look at the plant and its uses.

RED CAMPION--Silene dioica.  Below early spring foliage --bottom the foliage grows quickly as spring advances.

Photographs by Dal

red campion---

In early spring the tufts of foliage appear and soon respond to the warmer days growing quickly. The leaves are oblong and hairy the basal leaves are stalked while those on the stem are stalkless. They are arranged opposite to each other on the stems.

It is the flowers that are more familiar to most people which appear on tall stems they are pinkish red and 1.8-2.5cm wide they have deeply notched petals

red campion flower and seed capsule

Photographs by Dal

RED CAMPION  continued

The flowers are succeeded by the seeds which are contained in a swollen capsule which has ten teeth that turn back when the seeds are they are shaken out by the wind.

Red campion grows to the height of 50-100cm and flower from May until August. It is a plant of shady places but may also be found on road sides, waste land, ditches and rocky slopes.

Similar species--White campion photographed below.

White campion--photograph by Dal

Greater stitchwort, Stellaria holostea

Here in the north of England this plant is in flower during late April and May often appearing at the same time as the bluebell. Although it can attain the height of 30-60cm the stems are weak and rely on other herbage for support.

Greater stitchwort

Photograph by Dal

Greater stitchwort

Another common plant that enhances woodland edges and hedgerows with their white flowers. These flowers have five deeply notched petals and yellow stamens with sepals that are much shorter than the petals. They occur on a loosely branched flower stalks. The flowers are 1.8 to 3cm wide. They flower from April until June.

The foliage is grasslike in form being very linear and lance shaped untoothed with long tapering points and mostly unstalked. The leaves persist for many weeks after the flowers have faded.



Photograph by Dal