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English Wild Flowers: A Month by Month Guide

Red Valerian by a footpath in Somerset
 
 
 

Introduction

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.

Organisation

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.    

Flowering season

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.    

Photography

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.

Topics

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.

About me

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.

Dedication

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.

Feedback

I welcome feedback, corrections  and suggestions.  

E mail  me on  -  Keith@seasonalwildflowers.com  

   

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
October to December




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