I’ve set myself a personal goal recently, to learn more about wildflowers. Apart from the perfect time of year to see blooms, I have always had an interest in all things botanical and meadows are probably my favourite place to be. I have discovered some wildflowers that grow in Britain that I had no idea of before, and finding more about what they do, wanted to share these little-known plants and their properties.
Now is the best time to see Adria Bellflower, a low growing plant with rounded or heart shaped leaves. A wallflower with purple petals, they are a rich source of nectar for bees. They often also grow in cracks in walls and pavements, meaning that with the loss of so many meadows in recent years, such plants have been important for pollinator species.
This perennial plant comes in the form of a spike containing five petalled yellow flowers, giving off a sweet aroma. A species of Agrimony, it is pollinated by both bees and flies. It’s especially important as a known food plant for Grizzled Skipper caterpillars. As this butterfly becomes increasingly rare, already making the ‘high priority conservation’ list, keeping a close eye on populations of this plant seems vital.
I love violets, with their bright purples and deep yellows. Fen violets have a status of ‘Endangered’ in Britain, named on Schedule 8 on the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Once widespread, they have suffered from a decline in Western Europe. With blue-white flowers, this is a stunning rare plant pollinated mostly by bees. They prefer a wetland habitat, the conservation of which will benefit not only Violas but the wider system of wildlife.
Wildflowers are so important to a whole network of species, learning more about them and where to put conservation efforts is worth every moment.
Image credit: Lynn Greyling (@Bluesnap)
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