Wildflowers – February

Green

Dog's Mercury

Dog’s Mercury

A common woodland plant that carpets the ground and grows to 40cms.Leaves are a darkish green, broad lanceolate and with toothed edges. Flowers are small, greenish, petal less and greenish yellow in colour. 

The ‘dog’ in its name refers to the plant being bad in the sense that it is highly toxic.

Flowers February to May.

This plant was seen growing at the edge of the footpath that connects Old Lane and Stable Lane and close to Ashton Brook.

Stinking Hellebore

Stinking Hellebore

A stout foetid perennial to 80cm. Flowers bell-shaped, bright yellow-green, purple edged in clusters. The leaves dark green, palmate. Usually found in woods and scrub on lime. Widely naturalised elsewhere.

Flowers February to April.

This was naturalised under a willow tree at Peel Hall Park. It probably is a garden escape from the past.

White

Barren Strawberry

Barren Strawberry

This is a low hairy perennial growing to 15cm and can be confused with the Wild Strawberry. Overall it is shorter with gaps between the slightly notched white petals. The flowers appear above a rather bluish-green matt of veined trefoil leaves. It grows in woodland margins, scrubland and on dry hedge banks.

Flowers earlier in the year than strawberries, from February until May.

This specimen was seen growing on the bank on Old Lane near the top of Grange Road.

Yellow

Lesser Celandine

Lesser Celandine

This low hairless perennial of the Buttercup family is one of the first heralds of spring. The flowers are solitary with glossy yellow petals often fading to a whitish hue. The leaves are long stalked, heart-shaped dark green often with dark or light patches. This is a plant of grassland, hedgerows, woods and bare ground.

The plant is poisonous if ingested raw and potentially fatal to grazing animals and livestock such as horses, cattle, and sheep. The plant is known as pilewort by some herbalists, because it has historically been used to treat piles. Lesser celandine is still recommended in several “current” herbal guides for treatment of haemorrhoids by applying an ointment of raw leaves as a cream or lanolin to the affected area.

Flowers February to May.

Lesser Celandine can be found throughout the area and this example was found growing on a sunny grassy bank at the bottom of The Meadows.