Wild flowers to look our for on our Nature Reserves this spring | News | Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
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Wild flowers to look our for on our Nature Reserves this spring

Wednesday 1st April

Wild flowers to look our for on our Nature Reserves this spring

Many of our woodland nature reserves across Nottinghamshire are great places to see stunning displays of wildflowers carpetting the woodland floor.

Sites including Bunny Old Wood in the South of the county; Sellers Wood in the City; Ploughman Wood near Lowdham; Dycarr Wood north of Worksop and Eaton & Gamston Woods outside Retford are amongst the best locations in Nottinghamshire to enjoy a range of flower species each spring. Here's a quick guide to the types of flowers you might see

Dog’s mercury

This plant can be seen in ancient woodlands and beneath hedgerows where it characteristically forms dense, extensive carpets.  It bears clusters of small, simple greenish flowers from February to April and produces a foul and rotten smell.

Lesser Celandine

Wordsworth wrote three poems about this cheerful spring flower with its shiny, buttercup yellow star-like flowers which appear from February to May.  It is one of the first flowers of spring and is the floral equivalent of the swallow, in this instance heralding the coming of spring.  'Celandine' comes from the Greek chelidon meaning 'swallow' and it traditionally first blooms on 21st February.

The flowers react to the changing weather and open up when the sun shines which Wordsworth described more eloquently in The Small Celandine;  “And, the first moment that the sun may shine, Bright as the sun himself, 'tis out again!”


Also known as 'wild garlic', clusters of these white starry flowers are a common sight in woods in the spring and bloom between April and June.  Its pungent, oniony scent is apparent if you crush the leaves.  Early spring flowering allows them to make the most of the sunlight in their forest floor habitat with the flowers attracting the attention of plenty of pollinating insects including hoverflies, butterflies and longhorn beetles.

Wood Anemone

This low-growing plant of ancient woodlands is easily recognisable when it blooms between March and May with its 6-7 large, white or purple-streaked 'petals' (which are actually its sepals), deeply lobed leaves and a thin, red stem.  It is one of the first flowers of spring, which bloom like a galaxy of stars across the forest floor.  It is surprisingly slow to spread (six feet in a hundred years), and relies on the growth of its root structure and as such it is a good indicator of ancient woodland.


This vibrant blue flower which carpets woodland floors needs no real introduction with its bell-like flowers and rolled-up tips telling us that spring has arrived when it blooms in late April. Although still common throughout Britain it is threatened by the escape from gardens of the Spanish bluebell.  A recent survey has indicated that one in six bluebells found in broadleaved woodland was a Spanish rather than native bluebell. 

Spanish bluebells tends to have paler blue flowers and have almost no scent whilst the native variety has a distinct, sweetish scent.

(Bluebell image courtesy of Padraig McKenna)

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