6 facts you didn't know about wildflowers

Wildflower meadow © Paul Hobson

Pops of colour are appearing in our gardens, on road verges and our meadows. Like many other wildlife, flowers often have curious names which often go back hundreds of years.
Daisies

Daisies © Lauren Heather

Daisy

Daisies are ingrained in our culture and have often played a big part in our childhood. Who doesn't remember making daisy chains and wreathes of daisies or plucking the petals while saying the familiar "He loves me...he loves me not..."? But did you know that the name daisy comes from the "day's eye", as it opens with the sun and closes when the sun goes down?

Where to find: Everywhere

Red dead-nettle

Red dead-nettle © Amy Lewis

Red dead-nettle

The red dead-nettle with its crimson flower is a welcome food source for long-tongued insects such as red mason bee; the caterpillars of garden tiger, white ermine and angle shades moths like to feed on the leaves. It's called dead-nettle because even though it looks like a stinging nettle, it doesn't sting.

Where to find: roadside verges and field edges - where the ground has been disturbed
Lesser celandine

Lesser celandine © Philip Precey

Lesser celandine

Part of the buttercup family, this popular yellow flower is one of the first heralds of spring. Its name comes from the Greek word chelidon which means swallow and they emerge at the same time as swallows return from their winter quarters. In some places, it is known as pilewort, as it was traditionally used to treat hemorrhoids (wort = treatment;  piles = hemorrhoids).

Where to find: damp woodlands, gardens, meadows
Wood anemone

Wood anemone © Philip Precey

Wood anemone

It is named after the Greek wind god, Anemos, who sent his namesakes, the anemones, in early spring to herald his coming. This legend gives the flower its other common name of 'Windflower'. For the Romans,  wood anemones were considered a 'lucky charm' to ward off fever.

Where to find: mature and ancient woodlands
Dog's mercury

Dog's mercury

Dog's mercury

Mercury is a common name for the plant Good King Henry which can be eaten as a vegetable, a bit similar to spinach or kale. Dog's mercury has nothing to do with our beloved pets. The name refers to it looking similar to Good King Henry but being poisonous. It produces a foul and rotten smell.

Where to find: ancient woodlands, hedgerows
Dandelion

Dandelion © Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography

Dandelion

Loved by children for their ability to blow off in the wind, disliked by many gardeners as a weed, dandelions grow throughout the year and thus make a good food source for our pollinators, particularly early in spring when other flowers are rare. The name derives from the French dent de lion or tooth of the lion due to the jaggedly toothed shape of the leaves. During the Second World War, when coffee was almost unobtainable, a substitute was made from the roasted and ground roots of dandelions.

Where to find: everywhere

How many wildflowers can you find on your daily walk? Click on the image below to download your Spring Wildflower Spottersheet. 

Wild At Home - minibeasts

#WildatHome

We want to help everyone enjoy wildlife and connect with the wild places around them. Our #WildAtHome project aims to help bring you closer to wildlife in the safety of your home. Each week we'll be sending you ideas and inspiration on how to stay wild whilst remaining safe at home.

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