Search Results: A-guide-to-selecting-species

Anthemis austriaca - Corn Chamomile

In common with other mayweeds, this chamomile has a daisy like compound flower head and leaves that are finely divided and almost feathery in appearance. This species found its way into wild flower mixtures as it was mistaken for the very similar Anthemis arvensis; however, on closer examination it can be identified by its neater, more regularly lobed leaflets and by the scales present on the back of the flower head. In Anthemis arvensis these remain pliable as the flower dies and the seeds ripen but in this species they stiffen giving the seed head a slightly prickly feel. You may find this plant listed under the botanical name of Cota austriaca. Flowering occurs from early June into late September.

Glebionis segetum - (Chrysanthemum segetum) - Corn Marigold

This short to medium height annual is unmistakeable in flower (June to October) with its large bright yellow daisy-like compound flower head. The leaves are slightly fleshy, lobed, hairless and covered with a waxy layer that gives them a greenish blue colour. NB Until recently this species was know by the old botanical name of Chrysanthemum segetum. Some modern publications including Sell and Murrell list it as Xantophthalmum segetum.

Papaver rhoeas - Common Poppy

Poppies with their large red flowers with blackish centres are unmistakeable cornfield annuals. There are, however, four species in Britain which could match this description. Common poppy can be told from the three rarer species by its rounded, flat-topped and hairless seed capsules. In flower from June to August.

Adonis annua - Pheasant's-eye

This rare cornfield annual has bright-green, finely dissected leaves which are borne on a branched stem that can reach up to 50cm. The distinctive flower, with its dark red petals surrounding a central mass of black anthers, has the appearance of a miniature (15-25mm across) anemone. Flowering is normally from June to July and is followed by an elongated oval seed-head of about 30 olive-green seeds similar in size and shape to grape pips.

Alliaria petiolata - Garlic Mustard

Also known as Hedge Garlic and Jack-by-the-hedge. A medium to tall biennial or short-lived perennial with small white, yellow-centred flowers. Flowers occur from April to June and are followed by long green seedpods which shed their seed from July onwards. One of the easiest ways to identify this plant is by it fresh green, heart-shaped leaves that smell of garlic when crushed.

Anthyllis vulneraria - Kidney Vetch

A short to medium height plant this perennial vetch is characterised by its silky pinnate leaves and flower head crowded with many small flowers each with a woolly calyx. Kidney vetch flowers can vary from very pale yellow through to orange and occasionally crimson but our plants are a typical mid yellow. Flowering occurs from June to September.

Bupleurum rotundifolium - Thorow-wax

Sorry we have now sold out of this species. Thorow-wax is a distinctive, architectural cornfield annual which, from a distance, could be confused for a spurge. However, it has greenish-yellow flowers clustered at the end of stems; each cluster surrounded by a ring of green petal-like bracteoles and is in fact a member of the carrot family. The stem is branched and reddish with round to oval leaves that surround the stem. Flowers form June to late July.

Centaurium erythraea - Common Centaury

This attractive and fairly common wild flower is a member of the Gentian family as can be seen by its opposite pairs of leaves and its erect inflorescences of star like flowers backed by a corolla tube. The five petals are bright pink that contrast with the butter yellow anthers which twist once they have lost their pollen. Common centaury is unlikely to be confused with any other British flower except for other, much rarer species of centaury. The most likely to be found is the least centaury which is more open in habit with more slender petals and leaves.

Chelidonium majus - Greater Celandine

A medium tall, bushy perennial with greyish pinnate leaves with lobed leaflets. The flowers, which are present from April through to early October, consist of four well separated deep yellow petals. These are followed by a long seed capsule containing a row of shiny black seeds.

Cruciata laevipes - Crosswort

Crosswort is a tufted perennial identifiable by its un-stalked leaves in whorls along the stem and small, pale yellow flowers of four petals clustered around the stem just above the leaves. The only other common plant with whorled leaves and yellow flowers is Lady’s bedstraw but it, in common with other true bedstraws, has its flowers in terminal panicles giving it a more ‘frothy’ appearance (see the Lady’s bedstraw page for more detail and photographs). Crosswort is in flower from April to June.

Digitalis purpurea - Foxglove

Foxglove is an unmistakeable and stately biennial or short lived perennial with a basal rosette of soft, downy and wrinkled leaves and a tall, un-branched spike of bright pinkish purple (or sometimes white) flowers.

Fritillaria meleagris - Fritillary

With large, nodding, bell shaped flowers a chequer board of pale and dark purple or of cream, fritillaries are unlikely to be mistaken for any other plant. Flowers from April to May.

Galium album - (Galium mollugo) - Hedge Bedstraw

A sprawling and scrambling, medium to tall grassland perennial. In common with most other bedstraws, hedge bedstraw has a square stem with whorls of undivided leaves and clusters of small white four petalled flowers. Distinguishable from other similar bedstraws by its smooth stem and relatively broad leaves (no more than five times long as wide). Could be confused with Heath bedstraw but differs in habitat and the seeds (actually small dry fruit) differ. See next species. N.B. Until recently this species was known by the old botanical name of Galium mollugo but that name has now been given to a similar species found in continental Europe and North Africa.

Galium verum - Lady's Bedstraw

A short to medium and often sprawling grassland perennial. In common with other bedstraws Lady’s bedstraw has a square stem with whorls of undivided leaves and clusters of small four petalled flowers. Lady’s bedstraw is Britain’s only yellow flowered bedstraw (although it can be confused with Crosswort), its golden yellow flowers being present from June until September. The plant, when dried, retains the scent of new mown hay hence its common name which dates back to a time when palliasses were stuffed with straw.

Geranium sylvaticum - Wood Cranesbill

Wood cranesbill is an attractive native perennial, similar in appearance to meadow cranesbill but slightly smaller and with distinctive bluish violet flowers. Also the leaves are less deeply cut and the stalks of the ripe fruit-pods are held erect and not drooping as tends to be the case with meadow cranesbill. Flowering occurs from June to late August.

Geum urbanum - Wood Avens

Wood avens, or herb bennet as it is also known, is a medium height perennial with a flower of five yellow petals and turned-back sepals. The lower leaves are pinnate with the end leaflet much larger than the rest. Flowering occurs from May right through to November and beyond. The flowers develop into a bur-like head of fruits with reddish brown hooks.

Helianthemum nummularium - Common Rock-rose

Common rock-rose is an attractive low growing grassland under-shrub. The one veined leaves are lanceolate, hairless above, downy white bellow and in opposite pairs along a prostrate stem. The flowers, consisting of five petals, five sepals and numerous stamens, have a rose like appearance hence the plants common name. As a garden plant in can be found in a range of colours but wild flowers are a clear sulphur occasionally with an orange spot at the base of the petal. Flowering occurs form May to September.

Hippocrepis comosa - Horseshoe Vetch

Horseshoe vetch is a low, spreading grassland perennial. It is one of several low, yellow flowered members of the pea family found in Britain, in most have their leaves divided into three leaflets but in this species, the long narrow leaves are made up of 4-5 pairs of leaflets ending with a single leaflet. The highly scented flowers, which are in bloom throughout May and early June, are flowered by the seed pods which, when ripe, curl into a series of U shapes a little like a string of horse shoes.

Hypericum hirsutum - Hairy St John's-wort

Two British species of Hypericum have hairs on both upper and lower sides of the leaf; Marsh St John’s-wort which has runners and is found in bogs, and Hairy St John’s-wort which has an erect stem and black dots along the margin of its sepals. Being a medium to tall grassland perennial with a rounded stem Hairy St John’s-wort can be mistaken for Perforate St John’s-wort but, as the name suggests, it is hairy and the oblong leaves are much longer. It flowers from July to August with seed shed from September onwards. The plant normally dies back in winter but may persist in particularly sheltered sites.

Hypochaeris radicata - Catsear

Yellow dandelion-type flowers can be difficult to tell apart. Except for some very rare species hawkbits, dandelions and catsears can be distinguished from the rest by the absents of leaves along the flowering stem. Dandelions contain a milky juice, catsears have chaffy scales among their florets and hawkbits have neither. Catsear is most like autumn hawkbit in that both have flower stems that swell towards their tops and both have short scale like bracts along these stems. Catsear is generally taller with a larger flower; the stem is less swollen at the top and the ends of the leaves are rounded not pointed.

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