Posted by: braddenvillage | May 19, 2011

Identifying local flowers – what are they?

Identifying local flowers

I’ve been wandering our lanes, and wondering at the same time, as to what the flowers are that I’ve observed at the side of the road. Of course everyone knows the Bluebell and Snow Drop, but there are others which have left me perplexed.

I found a wonderful resource at the website for The Botanical Society of the British Isles : – and using this i’ve managed to identify some of the species, and I’ve included them here. In addition, you can find a seasonal Wild flower guide at: English Wild Flowers – A seasonal guide – click here

A more comprehensive resource to use is First Nature Website: which covers all British wildlife including: amphibians, bats, birds, fish, fungi, insects, mammals, reptiles, trees and, of course, wild flowers.

If you have any other plants/flowers you’d like to identify, either send me a photo, or click on the link above and search for yourself.

1. Orange Hawkweed

I’ve noticed this along the side of the road by the church

Habitats: Grassland, road sides, walls and short turf

Perennial  and in flower (usually) June to September – so it’s a month early this year!

2. Cow Parsley:

Description: The leaves and stems are covered in soft downy hairs. It grows up to 1 m tall when flowering. The stem is unspotted. The inflourescence has 4 to 10 main branches known as rays. Each ray is then branched again with flowers on the end of these branches.

Annual or bi-annual herb which flowers during: April, May and June.

3. Red Campion

Annual or perennial herbs and occasion evergreen dwarf shrubs. The leaves are usually ovate or elliptic, either glabrous or hairy. The sepals are fused into a tube with 5 teeth. The number of veins on the calyx are multiples of 10. The fruit is a capsule.

Perennial growing in Hedgerows, woodland and scrub. Flowers during May and June

4. Honesty

Location – Deciduous woodland, wasteland, roadsides and hedgerows

Flowers – April to June

5. Valerian – or as i believe it’s known around here “Devils Claw”

Habitats: Sea Cliffs, hedgerows, wasteland and walls

Perennial and in flower from May to September

6. Lesser Celendine

Location: woodland, grassland, wasteland, scrub, short turf, meadow and hedgerows

Annual or perennial and flowers: March to May

7. Cowslip

Description – Perennial herb in flower April to June

Locations: Downs, dunes, grassland, heath, hedgerows, meadow, roadsides, scrub and short turf.

8. Wild Garlic

Wild Garlic (or Ramsons) has striking white flowers  which appear between May and June, and  contrast against the lush green foliage.

Wild Garlic grows better in loamy (medium) and sandy (light) soils. The plant can grow in many conditions but prefers moist and slightly acid soils.  This species is characteristic of old established woodlands. It is often found in dappled shade conditions in damp meadows, along stream sides and in shady hedges. Wild Garlic can be a very invasive plant when the growing conditions are right and they tend to form a dense carpet of growth in the spring.

9. Common Dog violet

Viola riviniana, the Common Dog-violet, is a species of the genus Viola. It is also called wood violet or dog violet. It is a perennial herb of woodland rides, grassland and shady hedge banks. It is found in all soils except acid or very wet.

It is a perennial which flowers from April to June.

10. Forget-me-not

Biennial flower with masses of tiny sky-blue flowers with yellow centres.

This is a prolific self-seeder

Also known as Scorpion Grass as the flowerheads, according to the herbalist Gerard, were thought to resemble a scorpion’s tail. Therefore it was also believed to cure the sting of a scorpion and snake and dog bites.

Folklore surrounding this wildflower
Plant was the emblem of Henry IV who believed that whoever wore it would not be forgotten. In German folklore a knight picked Forget-me-nots for his love as they walked by a river. he tripped and fell in but before he drowned he threw the flowers to his love and cried “Forget-me-not!”

Christian legend tells of Adam naming the plants and missing out Forget-me-not, who asked what she was called. He replied, “You shall be my Forget-me-not”.

The plant is one of the medieval key flowers to secret caves where treasure lay: press the flower against the hill, wall, whatever and it will open.

Blacksmiths kept a bunch of the flowers in the forge to protect the horses from injury. One folk tradition was for friends to exchange plants each leap year on 29 February to to give Forget-me-nots to anyone making a journey. In Somerset many years ago people felt safer wearing Forget-me-nots during May when witches were rife. if steel is tempered with Forget-me-not juice it will be able to cut stone.

11. Creeping Buttercup

Habitat: It is found on damp, bare, nutrient-rich soils, so is a ubiquitous garden and agricultural weed. It is common on paths, ditches, wasteground, by fresh water and in grassland prone to flooding.

Description: Creeping buttercup is a native, perennial herb that grows up to 60cm and spreads by rooting runners.

Its appearance is rather variable depending on where it is growing. The flowers are deep yellow with spreading or erect sepals and slightly furrowed flower stalks (cf bulbous buttercup – more deeply furrowed stalks and meadow buttercup – smoothy, round unfurrowed stalks).

12. Elder

Habitat: Elder is common on nitrogen-rich waste ground, warrens, grassland, woodland and scrub, and beside roads and railways.

Description: It is a native, deciduous shrub or small tree growing up to 10m.

The flowers are in flat-topped, umbel-like clusters, up to 20cm across. Fruits are juicy, purple to black, round berries (up to 8mm across).


  1. Did you know that the cowslip is our county flower? It loves lime rich soils, so ours is perfect for them!

    • Hi,

      I didn’t know that… I think this information needs to be added in!

      Thanks Helen,


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