1. Lesser celandine
Also known as pilewort ©Getty
Grows from a tuber that responds quickly to the first hint of spring. The starry yellow flowers are a cheerful sight in hedgebanks and carpet woodland edges.
Common fly feeding on Alexanders ©Getty
Its green umbels have a musty smell that attracts fly pollinators. A former herb, it fell from favour after celery was introduced. It’s now naturalised near the coast.
3. Wood sorrell
The leaves of wood sorrel are edible ©Getty
Its nodding flowers may be marked with pink veins and yellow spots at their base. Wood sorrel often grows over decaying branches on the woodland floor.
Butterbur has unscented white-pink flowers ©Getty
Underground rhizomes produce conical pink inflorescences that erupt through riverbank soil before the leaves expand. It has separate male and female plants.
5. Butcher’s broom
Butcher’s broom is an evergreen shrub ©Getty
This evergreen of dry woodlands used to be bound to make brooms. Star-shaped flowers are carried in leaf-like structures that are really flattened stem branches.
6. Yellow star of Bethlehem
The yellow star of Bethlehem is a member of the family Liliaceae ©Getty
Green-backed petals open to reveal umbels of yellow blooms that are easily overlooked among the lesser celandines. It is locally common on limestone soils.
7. Sweet violet
Sweet violet is also commonly known as wood violet ©Getty
The only native violet that’s fragrant, this is always the first to flower. Creeping stolons root at their tip, so old plants form large patches in hedgebanks.
8. Barren strawberry
Look for hairy, blue-green leaves ©Ceridwen, Geograph
Similar to wild strawberry, this blooms earlier and its petals don’t touch one another. Fruits are dry and inedible. It is very common on woodland edges.
9. Spurge Laurel
Spurge Laurel in flower ©Patrick Roper, Geograph
Clusters of scented green flowers on this evergreen shrub attract the first bees and brimstone butterflies. Find it in calcareous soils, in hedge banks and beech woods.
Learn more with our guide to Britain’s top native wildflowers.
Main image ©Getty