Monday, 29 July 2013

What plants are flowering in our perennial meadows?

If you have visited our perennial flower meadows you might have wondered what plants are flowering in the meadows. Below we have compiled a little photo ID guide for you and hope it will help you to recognise the meadow plants. Some plants have finished flowering now but if you come back next year you can hopefully see them in full flower.

Red campion (Silene dioica): 
Flowering time: May - June
Dark pink unscented flowers with deeply notched petals. Deep-green opposite leaves.
If you see a similar-looking plant but with white flowers it is most likely White campion (Silene latifolia)
Meadow buttercup (Ranunculus acris):
Flowering time: May-June
Yello cup-shaped flowers on tall branched stems. Finely dived leaves.
Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) looks similar but leaves are much less divided and plant has creeping stems which root at nodes.
Ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare):
Flowering time: late May-June
Flower heads with white outer ray flowers and yellow disc flowers in the center. Dark green serrated leaves.
Birds-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus):
Flowering time: June-August
Yellow pea-like flowers sometimes with an orange tinge and leaves with 5 leaflets.

Red and White clover (Trifolium pratense and T. repens):
Flowering time: May-July
Typical clover flowers (red clover on the left and white clover on the right in picture), trifoliate leaves (3 leaflets).
Rough hawkbit (Leontodon hispidus):
Flowering time: June-August
Flower head with dark yellow ray flowers on a single stem and hairy leaves which form a basal rosette.

Hawksbeard (Crepis spp.):
Flowering time: June-September
Flower head with bright yellow ray flowers on a branched stem with small leaves all along the stem.
Catsear (Hypochaeris radicata) has similar-looking flowers on a branched stem, but stem is bare and never has leaves
Musk mallow (Malva moschata):
Flowering time: July-September
Pink showy mallow flowers (in picture growing together with Viper`s bugloss) in clusters along a tall stem. Leaves finely divided.
Viper`s bugloss (Echium vulgare):
Flowering time: June-August
This plant is unmistakable. Bright blue flowers along a tall stem and with basal rosette of rough, hairy lanceolate leaves.
Wild carrot (Daucus carota):
Flowering time: July-September
Tall white umbels (in picture growing together with Black knapweed) with carrot-like pinnate leaves and a carrot scent when crushed. Often the umbels have a small purple flower in the centre which can be quite conspicuous.
When the wild carrot seeds become mature the umbel starts to close and resemble a bird`s nest. It can become detached from the flowering stalk and blow around in the wind which helps with seed distribution.

Black knapweed (Centaurea nigra):
Flowering time: July-September
Flower heads with purple ray flowers (in picture growing together with white-flowered yarrow) and brown bristly phyllaries (bracts). Hairy, often lobed leaves, lower leaves stalked, upper leaves stalkless.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium):
Flowering time: July-September
Flower head with white, sometimes pink ray and disk flowers produced in a flat-topped cluster. Finely dived almost feathery leaves with a strong sweet scent.

Tufted vetch (Vicia cracca):
Flowering time: July-September
Climbing plant (tendrils at tips of the pinnate leaves) with blue to purple pea-like flowers in a one-sided cluster and a smooth stem.
Wild marjoram (Origanum vulgare):
Flowering time: July-September
Clusters of small pink flowers and small ovate aromatic leaves. The leaves can be used to flavour food such as pizza and pesto.

Field scabious (Knautia arvensis):
Flowering time: July-September
Flower head with many small pink to purple flowers on tall leafless hairy stems. Hairy greyish-green pinnate leaves.
Common fleabane (Pulicaria disenterica):
Flowering time: July-September
Flower heads with yellow ray and disk flowers. Downy to almost wooly plant with wavy-edged leaves clasping the stem.

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