A beginner’s guide to native British wildflowers

The simple beauty of wildflowers is a joy. Our guide to native British wildflowers looks at lovely flowers that bloom over summer 

Close up of tiny blue forget-me-not flowers on branch

Here is the list of the amazing native British wildflowers you can find:

1

Dog Rose – Rosa canina

Dog Rose – Rosa canina
Dog Rose – Rosa canina

Flowering period: May – July

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In the 18th and 19th century it was thought that Dog Rose could treat the bite of a rabid dog, giving a possible explanation for its name.

2

Honeysuckle – Caprifoliaceae

Honeysuckle – Caprifoliaceae
Honeysuckle – Caprifoliaceae

Flowering period: June – September

Honeysuckle has long been associated with various superstitions, one being that if it was planted around the entrance of a house, it could prevent witches from entering the home.

3

Enchanter’s nightshade – Circaea lutetiana

Enchanter’s nightshade – Circaea lutetiana
Enchanter’s nightshade – Circaea lutetiana

Flowering period: June – August

The botanical name of this wildflower is named after Circe, a witch from ancient Greece, who notoriously turned men into animals.

4

Columbine – Aquilegia

Columbine – Aquilegia
Columbine – Aquilegia

Flowering period: May – June

Part of the buttercup family, this flower is also the state flower of Colorado.

5

Kingcup – Caltha palustris

Flowering Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) on the banks of a pond
Kingcup – Caltha palustris

Flowering period: March – August

Kingcup’s are also known as Marsh Marigold, the term marigold came about when it was used in church festivals in the middle ages, as a devotion to the Virgin Mary.

6

Cornflower – Centaurea cyanus

Cornflower – Centaurea cyanus
Cornflower – Centaurea cyanus

Flowering period: June – September

In folklore young men who believed they were in love wore these flowers, and if the flower faded quickly it represented that their love was not returned.

7

Water avens – Geum rivale

Water avens – Geum rivale
Water avens – Geum rivale

Flowering period: May – September

The roots of this plant has many medical uses due to it containing high amounts of tannins, the root can also be used as an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic.

8

Forget-me-not – Myosotis

Forget-me-not – Myosotis
Forget-me-not – Myosotis

Flowering period: April – June

The name comes from a German romantic tragedy, where a man falls into a fast flowing river while on a stroll with his lover. While being swept away he throws a bouquet of these flowers at her, shouting, “Forget me not!”

9

Scarlet pimpernel – Anagallis arvensis

Scarlet pimpernel – Anagallis arvensis
Scarlet pimpernel – Anagallis arvensis

Flowering period: May – August

Best known as the emblem for the famous fictional character in Emma Orczy’s first novel, this British wildflower is probably our most pleasant weed.

10

Ragged Robin – Lychnis flos-cuculi

Ragged Robin – Lychnis flos-cuculi
Ragged Robin – Lychnis flos-cuculi

Flowering Period: May – August

“flos-cuculi” is supposedly means “Flower of the cuckoo”, named as the first flowers of the Ragged Robin appear just as the British Cuckoos are first heard in May.

And here is the video where Lawrence Trowbridge – lead ranger at the National Trust’s Ashridge Estate – guides BBC Countryfile Magazine through the woods in search of lesser known wildflowers.

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Main image ©Getty