The days are starting to grow longer and signs of spring are beginning to show. At this time of year, early spring flowering plants and shrubs can be found in a range of environments such as woodlands, grasslands, and gardens. Here are some to look out for when you're out and about.

Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)

Snowdrops are non-native and grow from bulbs. They have three leaves and a single flowering stem with white bell shaped flowers. They flower from January to March and can be found in deciduous woodland, parks, gardens, verges and meadows. They are not to be confused with summer snowflake and spring snowflake.

Lesser celandine (Ficaria verna)

The lesser celandine is a native plant with yellow star-like flowers, 8 to 12 petals and dark heart-shaped leaves. It flowers from March to May and tends to grow on damp woodland paths, stream banks and ditches, in hedgerows, meadows and gardens. It can be confused with the winter aconite and the greater celandine.

Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa)

The wood anemone is a low-growing native plant. Its leaves usually have three lobes and flowers are distinct with white petals and yellow anthers. It flowers from March to May and can be found in deciduous woodland, by hedgerows and in meadows. It can be confused with wood sorrel.

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

The bluebell is a native plant easily recognised by the intense blue petals and white-cream coloured pollen. They flower from mid-April to May and can be found in broadleaved woodland, hedgerows and fields. It can be confused with the non-native Spanish bluebell.

Cowslip (Primula veris)

Cowslips have golden yellow, bell-shaped flowers with five petals and dark green wrinkled leaves. They can be found in meadows, on grassland, verges and in gardens. They tend to flower from April to May. They are not to be confused with oxlip and false oxlip.

Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella)

Wood sorrel is a native plant that has distinctive trefoil leaves with three heart-shaped lobes and white flowers with five petals and purple veins. They flower from April to May and can be found in woodlands, shady hedgerows and growing from the moss of fallen logs.

Ramsons (Allium ursinum)

Also know as wild garlic, ramsons are a native plant with flowers that have six petals and a leafless stalk. The leaves grow from the base of the plant and have a garlic scent. They tend to grow in deciduous woodland, calcareous (chalky) soil, scrub and hedgerows, but prefer damp areas. They are not to be confused with lily of the valley.

Common dog violet (Viola riviniana)

The common dog violet is native to the UK and can be identified by its purple flowers and heart-shaped leaves. Its flowers are similar to those of pansies. It flowers from April through until June and can be found across the UK in grassland areas, farmland, heathland, gardens and woodlands.

Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis)

Commonly known as lady’s smock, the cuckooflower is a plant native to the UK. Its leaves grow at the base of the stem. Its flowers are small and delicate and have four pale pink or mauve flowers. The cuckooflower flowers from April to June and is widespread, but is most commonly found in grassland and gardens.

February daphne (Daphne mezereum)

This shrub typically grows in calcareous woodland and its common name is a nod to its early flowering. Come February, it produces beautiful pink, lilac and violet flowers with a pleasant fragrance. Its berries should never be eaten as they are highly toxic to humans. This is not a problem for birds such as the song thrush, however, which readily feeds on the fruit.

Record wildflowers on Nature’s Calendar

The Nature’s Calendar project tracks the effects of weather and climate change on wildlife across the UK – its records date all the way back to 1736! Blooming wildflowers are among 69 wildlife events recorded for the project.

Join Nature’s Calendar to record your sightings - every record is crucial and valid. The data recorded helps us to better understand the effects of climate change and other patterns in the natural environment. By taking just a few minutes to share what you see, you'll be adding to hundreds of years' worth of important data for studies worldwide. We couldn't do this work without you!

Male blackbird with worm

Visiting woods

Nature's Calendar

Have you seen your first butterfly or swallow of spring? Or your first ripening berry or autumn leaf tint? Let us know what's happening to animals and plants near you and help scientists track the effects of climate change on wildlife.

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Discover more from the world of wildflowers