1. Brassicaceae (Cabbage family)
Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard)
ID tips: 4 petals in a cross, upright plant with toothed, glossy green nettle-like leaves (garlic scented when crushed)
Habitat: Hedgebanks, open woods, flowers April-July.
2. Violaceae (Violet family)
Viola odorata (Sweet Violet)
ID tips: Asymmetric flower with 5 petals the lower forming a lip and with a spur (in all Viola species), V.odorata is our only fragrant violet, heart-shaped leaves with stipules, leaves hairy and enlarging after flowering.
Habitat: Hedgebanks, woods and scrub, flowers March-May.
3. Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family)
Mercurialis perennis (Dog’s Mercury)
ID tips: Hairy perennial herb with creeping rhizomes, separate male and female plants (dioecious), tiny flowers with 3 green tepals (greenish rather than white, sorry!), in spikes (male) or clusters (female).
Habitat: Woods, hedgerows and shady places, flowers February-April.
4. Rosaceae (Rose Family)
Fragaria vesca (Wild Strawberry)
ID tips: Flowers with many stamens and many carpels, petals exceeding sepals (petals less than sepals in Potentilla sterilis (Barren Strawberry)), leaves long stalked bright glossy green with three unstalked leaflets, leaves with stipules.
Habitat: Woods, scrub, basic grassland, flowers April-July.
5. Brassicaceae (Cabbage Family)
Cochlearia danica (Danish Scurvygrass)
ID tips: Low-growing plant, 4 petals in a cross, succulent leaves, basal leaves cordate, stem leaves ivy-shaped, fruits oval and swollen.
Habitat: coastal sand and shingle but also very abundant inland along salted roadsides, flowers February-June, then dies back.
6. Lamiaceae (Dead-nettle Family)
Lamium album (White Dead-nettle)
ID tips: Flowers two-lipped, square stem and opposite decussate leaves as in all Lamiaceae. L.album is an erect hairy perennial, leaves oval, cordate and coarsely toothed, white flowers with tiny side lobes and the corolla tube arched backwards and narrowed at the base.
Habitat: Hedgebanks, roadsides and walls, flowers April-December.
7. Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family)
Stellaria media (Common Chickweed)
ID tips: Variable annual of sprawling habit, 5 notched white petals, opposite-decussate leaves, stem has single line of hairs.
Habitat: Very common weed of arable and waste ground everywhere and flowers all year!
8. Rosaceae (Rose Family)
Prunus spinosa (Blackthorn)
ID tips: Many stamens many carpels, flowers opening before the leaves, dark twigs with thorns.
Habitat: Hedgerows and woods, flowers March-May.
9. Brassicaceae (Cabbage Family)
Erophila verna agg. (Common Whitlowgrass)
ID tips: Annual plant, 4 petals in a cross (so NOT Caryophyllaceae which it superficially resembles), notched petals (unusual for Brassicaceae), and oval flattened fruit capsule.
Habitat: Walls and open dry sandy ground, flowers March-May then disappears (puff!).
10. Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)
Anemone nemorosa (Wood Anemone)
ID tips: Many stamens many carpels, no stipules, leaves hairless, palmately lpbed
Habitat: Woods, hedgebanks and sometimes in old grassland near woods, flowers March-April then dies back to rhizome.
NB ID tips etc modified from Rose & O’Reilly The Wildflower key.