How to identify spring wildflowers
Brush up on your spring wildflower ID skills with our handy guide. Here are 12 species for you to look out for.
1. Field forget-me-not Myosotis arvensis (above)
Annual on well-drained soils often near rabbit burrows and field edges. Blue flowers measure up to 5mm across.
2. Early forget-me-not Myosotis ramosissima
Local and tiny annual on well-drained soils. Smaller than field forget-me-not with intensely blue flowers 3mm wide.
3. Alternate-leaved golden saxifrage Chrysosplenium alternifolium
Locally scattered in lime-flushed places. Flowers in yellow clusters.
4. Opposite-leaved golden saxifrage Chrysosplenium oppositifolium
Non-limy soils, wet woodland, rocks and streamsides. Yellow-green sepals.
5. Cowslip Primula veris
Meadows, downs and road verges. Flower clusters smaller and brighter than single-stemmed primroses.
6. Oxlip Primula elatior
Ancient coppiced woods in south-east England, naturalised elsewhere. Drooping clusters of yellow flowers.
7. Greater stitchwort Stellaria holostea
Woodland rides, hedgerows and roadsides. Much larger flowers than lesser stitchwort and broader leaves.
8. Lesser stitchwort Stellaria graminea
Well-drained grassland, roadsides on acid soils. Small flowers. Petals longer than sepals. Bright green leaves.
9. Bugle Ajuga reptans
Creeping patches in woodland rides especially on heavy soils. Flowers blue in upright spikes. Shiny leaves.
10. Ground ivy Glechoma hederacea
Creeping mats especially on well-drained soils. Purple flowers. Leaves rounded, hairy and deeply toothed.
11. Sweet violet Viola odorata
Woods and hedgerows. Flowers rich purple, pinkish-purple or white. Spreads by stolons (runners).
12. Early dog violet Viola reichenbachiana
Woods and old hedgerows, often with wood anemone, primroses etc. Flowers lilac. No stolons (runners).