English Wild Flowers: A Month by Month Guide
Walking, whether in the countryside or neighbourhood, is a main leisure activity.
Like me, you may be frustrated at seeing wild flowers that you think you should be able to name.
This web site is my attempt to remedy this situation. I hope that it increases your enjoyment of not just the countryside but also of paths, wasteland, walls and hedgerows in urban areas.
It is organised on a monthly basis. This gives you an idea of what to look out for at different times of the year.
Months are accessed, either by clicking on a name from the list below, or by putting the cursor on the month at the top of the page.
Plants are listed in alphabetical order in the month in which they first appear. This is not necessarily the peak in their flowering season. January is an exception because it includes plants which flower all year round.
It is a work in progress - there are many plants still to be added, particularly for the summer months.
The time when a plant flowers is controlled by its genetics, day length and temperature.
Of these factors, only temperature varies from year to year and is therefore responsible for differences in the timing of flowering. In mild winters, for example, spring flowers appear earlier and the previous summer's flowers last longer, especially close to habitation. The effects are less marked in the open countryside
The identity of a gene responsible for switching on flowering has recently been published (see under Spring Switch in Plant News in the Topics section)
Long-term, persistent changes in the timing of flowering can be used as a measure of climate change. You may wish to keep your own records for this purpose.
Several photographs are shown for each flower. They are chosen to illustrate diagnostic characteristics mentioned in field guides and floras.
Post October 2006, photographs have been taken with a Panasonic Lumix digital camers (DMC-TZ1) with a 10X optical zoom.
Before October 2006, they were taken with a Fujifilm FinePix 4700zoom digital camera with a 3X optical zoom.
Pictures have been cropped, but not otherwise manipulated, using Adobe Photoshop CS3 extended.
I have added a new section on topics. The first one is on Food poisoning linked to fruit and vegetables, which was one of my areas of research. Others, on seasonality and alien invaders, are being developed.
I retired in 2006 after 40 years as a microbiologist at Lancaster University and returned to my first scientific interest, plants, showing that it is never too late to use your first degree (botany).
I took all the pictures (except for those in which I appear) and did all the identifications and descriptions on the site.
Violetta, my wife, encouraged the setting up of the site and was the first to realise the potential of the digital camera. She was also insistant that I needed a hobby.
Sadly, Violetta died in April, 2012, after three years of treatment and illness. This website is my celebration of her life.
I welcome feedback, corrections and suggestions.
E mail me on - Keith@seasonalwildflowers.com
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