Flowering Plants: What to see in August

Like all those who are new to Botany I can sometimes feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of flowers popping up in Spring and Summer, there are too many of them how can anyone possibly remember all of their names? A trick I like to do is select a number of common varieties that are in bloom from books or the internet that are easy to identify based on their distinctive colour, leave morphology or petal arrangement. These are the varieties I remember and look out for but it is also important to take into consideration preferred habitat. Where are you based and what plants are you most likely to find, which ones will be the most easy to remember and identify. I specifically choose to focus on flowering plants in bloom because I find identifying flowers easier than studying leave morphology: Flowers, at least for me, are easier to identify.

A couple of my favourite August flowering plants:

Wild Marjoram (Origanum vulgare) otherwise known as Oregano! Although it takes on a slightly different taste growing in the British countryside. A native grassland perennial species with pinky purple flowers between June and September the Ancient Greeks believes that the flower’s scent comes from Aphrodite’s (Greek Goddess of Love) touch. It can also be found in Hedgerows and slightly wooded areas, surviving in infertile soils with a remarkable ability for seeds to remain dormant in the soil after fires or when all presence of the parent plant has been destroyed. The plant is especially important to butterflies and is edible as a herb for human consumption. Grows to 60cm.

Musk Mallow (Malva moschata) native verge, hedgerow and pasture perennial with pink, five-petalled flowers from July and August, gives off a subtle musk aroma which grows stronger in the evening. Grows 75cm.

Centuary (Centaurium erythraea) native grassland biennial with pink  five-petalled flowers held in clusters from June – Sepember. Flowers close for the evening and in overcast weather conditions. Grows 25cm

As exciting as it is to come across a plant  you have set your heart on finding you’re usually not going to on your first attempt, that’s why it’s important to keep building on your knowledge by keeping your eyes open as well as by just reading books. Take snapshots of the plants that peak your interest, even if you are just walking home from work. Take the photograph back to your references or post them online to share with a community of plant enthusiast.

There are some of the flowers that you have seen so far this month and felt like sharing with Wildlife Sightings (@wildlife_uk) and Plant Sightings (@Plants_uk

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Samanta Webster

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