Identifying wild flowers - where to start

The UK boasts over 1700 species of wild flowers in all shapes, sizes, colours, and in some cases, flavours.

Some native species, like the ones in Meadowmat wild flower matting, can be found in most counties, just by taking a walk and checking out the road verges, hedges and even brownfield sites.  Others are incredibly specialised and only exist in small numbers in very secret, protected places.

What's in a name?

One of the joys of wild flowers is in finding different plants, learning what their names are and then, discovering what the names actually mean.

field scabiousFor example, the Field scabious, Knautia arvensis, has a delicate blue flower, as lovely as anything you’ll find in the garden, is a favourite flower of the honeybee, produces seeds that are enjoyed by wild birds and earns its name by being used for medicinal purposes ….. as a treatment for scabies.

 

 

 

 

Yarrow flowerThe Yarrow, Achilliea millefolium, is the granddaddy of all those jewel coloured achillieas you’ll find in the garden centre and was used historically in the treatment of tendon injuries. 

 

 

 

 

Start with the flower itself

Botonists and ecologists can often identify wildflowers just from their leaves, roots or seedheads, but for wildflower enthusiasts, the easiest way to identify a plant is by looking at the flower itself.

What colour is it? How tall does it grow?  What time of year does it bloom? Is it growing in woodland, hedgerow, pond margin or meadow?  All of these factors will help you to tell one wildflower from another. 

Where to find help

If you have a camera with you, take a photo and take it home to compare with the pictures in a book or on the internet.  If all else fails, email your photos to me Angela Lambert, and I’ll do my best to help you find out what the plant might be.

In the meantime, I’ve posted some of the UK’s most frequently found wildflowers on to our website, categorised by the colour of the blooms.  As my photo library grows, I’ll keep on sharing the pictures with you. 

Some of the captions will soon have links added that will take you to a more detailed plant profile and if you’d like to establish wild flowers in your own garden (I have, and I thoroughly recommend it) there will be an indication of whether a particular flower can be found in our Traditional Meadowmat wild flower matting or our soon to be launched, Meadowmat for Birds and Bees.

Please bookmark our wildflower identification page and keep visiting to find out what’s new or follow us on facebook and twitter for regular updates.

 

Visit our wildflower identification page