Wildflowers – March

Blue

Green Alkanet

Green Alkanet

This Green Alkanet which is also known as Evergreen Bugloss, has brilliant blue flowers which resemble forget-me-nots, and retains its green leaves through the winter. It grows to 90 cms. It likes shade and damp.

The flowers are edible.

It flowers March to July.

The flower pictured was found near the hedgerow along Manley Lane to the north-west of Mouldsworth and close to the old post office/shop.  Can also be seen as you turn down from Peel Hall Lane towards the Scout Hut in Ashton.

Ivy-Leaved Speedwell

Ivy-Leaved Speedwell

This tiny more or less hairy annual has delightful blue flowers with palmately lobed leaves. It is a weed of disturbed grown and grows throughout Ashton and Mouldsworth. 

This Speedwell flowers between March and August

This example was seen in Shay Lane.

Pink

Red Campion

Red Campion

Medium tall perennial to 1m. The flowers are bright rosy pink and are quite distinctive. It likes rich soil and prefers light shade in woods and hedge banks. Also occurs in the open on mountains and sea cliffs.

Flowers March to November. The below was seen on the roadside bank down past the Ashton Village Hall.

Purple

Ground Ivy

Ground Ivy

Ground Ivy is an aromatic, perennial evergreen creeper of the mint family. It has round to reniform (kidney or fan shaped), opposed leaves about 1 inch in diameter, on long petioles attached to square stems which root at the nodes. The plant spreads either by stolon or seed, making it exceptionally difficult to eradicate. 

It is commonly known as ground-ivy, gill-over-the-ground, creeping charlie, alehoof, tunhoof, catsfoot, field balm and run-away-robin.

It is used as a salad green in many countries. European settlers carried it around the world, and it has become a well-established introduced and naturalised plant in a wide variety of localities.

Flowers March to June. This example was seen in Old Lane.

White

Field Pansy

Field Pansy

The commonest wild pansy, annual, with stems to 40cms.  It is also known as Heartease. A plant of bare ground and cultivated fields.

Pansy family plants have been used as love charm hence other names such as love lies bleeding, cuddle me, kiss-her-in-the-buttery. Also the name Heartease may have arisen because of its medicinal reputation as a cordial for the heart. It has also been taken both internally and externally.

Flowers March to July. This was growing at the edge of a maize field beside Andrews Wood.

Hairy Bittercress

Hairy Bittercress

One of the commonest small weeds, usually just a few cms in size but can grow up to 30cms.   Cardamine hirsuta, commonly called hairy bittercress, is an annual or biennial member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae). It is common in moist areas around the world. It is automatically self-pollinated.

Seed is shed in May and June and sometimes into the autumn. There are around 20 seeds per seedpod. The average seed number per plant is 600 but a large plant may yield several thousand seeds. It is a common weed of gardens, greenhouses’, paths, railways and waste ground. It is a particular problem in container raised plants.

The leaves are edible as a bitter herb and can be eaten from October onwards. They are said to be delicious in sandwiches and with cheese or added to soups.

It is found in flower all through the year but mainly from March to August This was found in a border at Spy Hill but is likely to be found in most gardens and many other bare places.

Wood Anemone

Wood Anemone

The wood anemone appears in early spring in deciduous woods, on hedge banks and near streams. The solitary white flowers have delicate grey veins and a rosette of yellow anthers. Leaves are deeply lobed. 

Considered a lucky charm by the Romans the plant is named after Anemos, the Greek wind god – hence the flower’s other common name of ‘windflower’.

Flowers March 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. It can also be seen on the verge lower down Smithy Lane near and opposite the farm entrance.

Yellow

Primrose

Primrose

This beautiful spring flower grows to 12cm with solitary flowers pale yellow with a deeper yellow eye and honey-Guides growing on long shaggy stalks. The leaves are lanceolate, crinkly and taper towards the base.

There are two distinct variations, the pin-eyed where the stigma is above the anthers, and the thrum-eyed with the stigma below the anthers.

Both flowers and leaves are edible, the flavour ranging between mild lettuce and more bitter salad greens. The leaves can be cooked in soup but preferably with other plants because they are sometimes a little strong. The leaves can also be used for tea, and the young flowers can be made into primrose wine. 

Flowers March to May.

The plant is found widely in woods, scrub, hedgerows and sea cliffs and also on mountains. This pin-eyed example was found growing on Grange Road.