Being able to identify Britain’s wildflowers adds a deeply satisfying element to any time spent in the great outdoors. Whether you’re passing Cornish hedgerows, Welsh woodlands, Yorkshire moorlands or a dramatic section of the Scottish coastline, having the right guide in your pocket makes all the difference to your understanding of the area.
We’ve put together a list of the best wildflower identification books so you can quickly and easily identify wildflowers you stumble across, whether that’s on your regular dog walk, or a weekend away in the hills.
If you’re new to the wildflower identification scene, check out our beginner’s guide to native British wildflowers.
Best wildflower identification books
Concise Wild Flower Guide
For a smaller guide to the most common wildflowers found in Britain, the Concise Wild Flower guide could be the one for you. The book is a neat size, roughly 10 x 13cm, which should fit in your pocket, so it’s ideal if you’re after easy access.
It includes over 180 species and you can discover a wildflower’s size, habitat, flowering time, distribution and habits. Conveniently, it’s covered in a plastic wallet so you don’t need to be too careful when you’re outdoors.
A particularly appealing feature is the foldout insert which displays at-a-glance illustrations of flowers by colour so you can quickly spot what you’re looking for.
By Richard Mabey
Considered a folklore masterpiece, Richard Mabey’s Flora Britannica allows you to explore the connection between wild plants and social life. People all over the country, from a range of rural and urban areas, shared their personal anecdotes and memories in relation to the cultural dimensions of their wildflowers, making this pick a particularly unique and special read.
It features nearly 500 photographs and over 1000 species and demonstrates the importance of the relationship between nature and humans.
- Best wildflower meadow walks in Britain
- 10 of the best walking and hiking shoes to buy in 2021
- Plant Britain: Spring bulbs to plant in autumn for bees and butterflies
- Weeds are good for bees, say wildlife experts
By Sarah Raven
A big name in the world of gardening, it’s no surprise Sarah Raven has an impressive understanding of wildflowers from harebells and forget-me-nots to foxgloves and wood spurge.
You can learn about 500 of Britain’s most exquisite wildflowers in this informative book which is divided by habitat, covering woods, downs and dales, lanes and hedgerows, meadows, marshes and streams, coast, moors and mountains and wasteland.
Alongside the descriptions, you’ll find stunning landscape photographs by Jonathan Buckley.
Wild Flowers of Britain: Month by Month
If you’d rather opt for a hardcover wildflower identification book you can browse at your leisure when you’re relaxing at home, this book is one to consider.
Wild Flowers of Britain Month by Month features illustrations that have been painted over 45 years by Margaret Erskine Wilson, who was an amateur botanist and water-colourist, making this book one of a kind. The month by month feature is useful if you enjoy tracking the different species and blossoms as the seasons change. It would make a thoughtful gift for those who enjoy botanical artwork.
Scottish Wild Flowers
By Michael Scott
Whether you’re exploring the Highlands, the Lowlands or walking along a dramatic Scottish coastline, this book is sure to help you identify Scotland’s stunning wildflowers. Along with a description and coloured illustration, you can discover the plant’s Latin and Gaelic name.
The plants are grouped together by habitat which means you can easily and thoroughly explore an area of your choice. There are also some top tips if you’re keen to discover where to find the most attractive and special wildflowers Scotland has to offer.
Planning a trip there soon? Read our guide to Scotland’s great trails: history and best walks.
Guide to flowers of walks and waysides
This guide comes in the style of a laminated leaflet rather than a whole book, making it a very light and portable item you can easily pop in your bag.
It’s a useful, affordable guide that is bound to come in handy when you’re enjoying an amble in the countryside and spot some wildflowers in hedgerows, grassy areas and meadows. The key informs you of height, location, flowers and any necessary warnings you should be aware of.
It’s worth noting, urban grasslands and wastelands are also the homes to many wildflowers so you don’t necessarily have to live in the countryside to benefit from this neat guide.
The Little Book Of Wild Flowers
With a focus on bright, striking images this is a top choice for budding young wildflower enthusiasts due to its child-friendly layout. You can read up on wildflowers spotted in both Britain and Europe in a range of locations including parks, .
This book has been produced in association with the British conservation charity, Plantlife, which aims to save threatened wildflowers, fungi and plants.
This would make a lovely gift for nature loving families who are keen to learn more about the wildflowers they spot day to day.
For more present ideas, here is our list of the best gifts for walkers.
Wonderful Wildflowers of Wales
If you enjoy trekking through the beautiful Welsh countryside, this wildflower identification book is a great choice as it allows you to focus on one nation, so you have the specific information you need.
Wonderful Wildflowers of Wales includes a useful chart which helps you instantly identify wildflowers by their colour so you can quickly find the correct information in the book. You’re in good hands as the writer, Pat O’Reilly – who has a number of books on the topic of wildflowers and fungi to his name – was awarded an MBE for his environmental work.
Keen to explore Wales? Check out the best Welsh adventure spots.
Harrap’s Wild Flowers
By Simon Harrap
This wildflower identification book aims to make the art of identifying wildflowers in Britain and Ireland as easy as possible through use of clear language and useful close-ups. There are more than 800 species included with only extreme rarities left out so you can spot what you’re after without being bombarded with thousands of names.
With helpful highlighted boxes containing key features as well as the inclusion of easily mistaken look-alikes, this user-friendly guide is sure to become a well-used addition to your walking rucksack.
Take a look at the best lightweight waterproof jackets so you can stay dry on your expeditions.
Collins Wild Flower Guide
By David Streeter et al.
This second edition of the Collins Wild Flower Guide features more than 1,900 British and Irish wildflowers, so if you’re after a complete, single-volume guide, this pick certainly covers a diverse range of flora. As well as flowers, you can also learn about trees, grasses and ferns.
The plants are organised by families and significant points of interest are highlighted for easy reference. The illustrations are also on the same page as the descriptions which makes for straightforward, faff-free reading.
If you’re looking to capture the beauty of wildflowers, take a look at our helpful guide on how to take photos of wildflowers.
Wild Flowers by Colour
Wildflowers by Colour is a highly regarded book which helps readers quickly and easily identify flowers in Britain and Northwestern Europe.
If you’re keen to invest in a user-friendly guide, this is a solid choice as the species are organised first by colour so by no means do you have to be an expert to benefit from this read. The beautiful artwork also makes this book an appealing purchase. It’s fairly neat in size so you can easily pop it in your bag and have it to hand when you’re out and about.