Monday, 19 March 2018

Challenge: Look at the leaves

As usual for this week we would like you to find wild plants in bloom. However, we would also like you to zoom in and take a close look at the leaves.

Leaves are a vital part of plant identification and they come in many different shapes and sizes!

In botany each distinctive leaf shape has a name. You may find these described in the glossary of a wildflower guide or there maybe a chart displaying the different shapes.

For example the wrinkled leaves of the Common Primrose, Primula vulgaris are obovate to spoon-shaped.

The leaves of the Common Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis are linear.

Whilst those of Cow Parsley, Anthriscus sylvestris are compound and 2-3 times pinnate.

Don’t worry if you manage to find some completely unfathomable leaves. Our lovely wildflowerhour community will be on standby to help.

Some leaves have surprising undersides. So have a good look at what lies beneath and take a pic. Take one of the upper side too!

Also make a note of how the leaves are arranged on the stem. For example are they alternate, opposite, arranged singly or in leaflets.

Post your pics on Twitter, Instagram or in our Facebook group for #wildflowerhour on Sunday 25th March 8-9pm using the hashtag #lookattheleaves.


from #wildflowerhour

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Podcast: Floodplain meadows

Our latest podcast is live! In this episode, Isabel Hardman finds out about floodplain meadows, and why they are such an important habitat for wild flowers, and hears about the starved wood sedge (and what it is).

The Species Recovery Trust have agreed to be a #wildflowerhour partner, which means we will work with them and promote their work. They do fantastic work, and it’s not just in saving the Starved Wood Sedge. Here’s their website and here is a factsheet on the Starved Wood Sedge.

The Floodplain Meadows Partnership works to manage, restore and research these habitats and you can read more about their work here. Isabel refers to a tweet by Guardian columnist George Monbiot, which caused some controversy: you should read that thread here.

You can listen to this podcast on iTunesAcastStitcherSpotify and all other good podcast platforms. Just let us know if it doesn’t turn up on yours and we’ll add our feed. Please also considering leaving a review of the show as it helps other people find it more easily which means that more people will learn about how amazing the native flowers of Britain and Ireland really are.

from #wildflowerhour

Cabbage challenge – the highlights

Thank you for braving the snow and the freezing temperatures to take part in this weeks wildflowerhour #cabbagechallenge.

We asked you to try to find a member of the Brassicaceae or cabbage family.

You found lots of the beautiful and diminutive Erophila verna, now at its peak, this lovely image is by @sarah_lambert7

Another highlight, was this wallflower growing on a cliff-face at Beachy Head found by @DavidBBurbridge.

This week’s star image is this lovely shot of Cardamine pratensis. Perfectly capturing the fragility and grace of this beautiful flower from @palebd.

You can see the rest of #wildflowerhour members lovely #cabbagechallenge finds below. Thank you all so much for taking part.

from #wildflowerhour

18 March

Monday, 12 March 2018

Challenge: Find a member of the cabbage family.

For this weeks #wildflowerhour challenge we are asking you to find a member of the Brassicaceae or cabbage family. Many members of this large family such as mustard, cress, water-cress, cabbage, turnip and horse-radish are very familiar to us.

Happily the flowers of the cabbage family are easily recognisable owing to their distinctive cross-shaped arrangement.

Each flower is usually made up of four green sepals, four equally sized petals and six stamens. The stamens are arranged around a central ovary, usually the inner four are longer and the two outer stamens are shorter. An exception to this Hairy Bitter-cress, Cardamine hirsuta pictured below, is readily identifiable by having only four stamens.

As usual with #wildflowerhour you don’t have to be able to identify plants, just be able to find them.

So be brave! Go out and look for the distinctive four petalled, cross-shape flowers. If you can’t work out what they are, take a picture of the leaves and also look for fruits. As you may have heard on the latest podcast, the fruits in this family are very variable and are important in identification.

Then post your pics on Twitter, Instagram or in our Facebook group using #cabbagechallenge for #wildflowerhour on Sunday 18th March 8-9pm. Our lovely friendly wildflower hour community will then do the rest and help you identify them.

from #wildflowerhour

Podcast: Roadside wild flowers

In the latest episode of the #wildflowerhour podcast, Isabel Hardman finds out about our most important network of nature reserves: roadside verges.

Mark Schofield works for the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and waxes lyrical about the importance of these scraps of land in saving wild flowers. We also learn about the Brassicaceae, or cabbage, family, which is the topic of this week’s challenge, with some tips from expert botanist Tim Rich. You can buy his handbook on identifying this plant family here.

And it’s time for our monthly wild flower reading by Zoe Devlin from her latest book, Blooming Marvellous: A Wild Flower Hunter’s Year.

from #wildflowerhour