Wootton Bridge Wildflowers
Latin name: Primula vulgaris
Size: Grows to a height of around 15cms.
Distribution: Found throughout the UK.
Flowering months: March to May.
Habitat: Found mostly on grassy verges and woodland edges.
Special features: The flowering of the primrose generally signals the arrival of spring in Britain. The delicate yellow flowers appear between a rosette of extremely crinkly leaves. It’s English name literally means “first rose”.
Like many of our native wildflowers, the Wood Anemone has also another name, which is ‘Windflower’. This name, directly related to its botanical name is derived from the Greek. Greek legend says that Anemos, the Wind, sends his namesakes the Anemones, in the earliest spring days as the heralds of his coming. Other sources claim that the flowers only opened when the wind blew. The second part of the name nemorosa refers to its woodland habitats and derives from the latin ‘nemorosus‘ meaning ‘wooded or covered with trees’.
The Wood Anemone is poisonous. Although herbalists do not use the plant medicinally nowadays, various parts of this herb used to be recommended for a variety of complaints such as headaches, gout and rheumatism.
Wood Anemone are found throughout the UK and in Western Europe and is absent from much of the Mediterranean. The plant is found in dry deciduous woods, along old hedgebanks and occasionally in upland meadows. When Wood anemone is found in meadows and hedgebanks it often indicates the site of a vanished woodland and is sometimes eloquently referred to as a woodland ghost.
Like many other elements of our woodland flora, such as Lesser Celandine, Wild Garlic, Bluebells and Cuckoo Pint, underground storage allows the Wood Anemone to produce leaves and flowers at the same time, thus enabling it to carry out its annual life-cycle in the few weeks of spring before the shade from the trees above becomes too dense. The Wood Anemone is one of our first spring flowers. It spreads mainly by means of creeping root-stocks, running just below the surface often forming extensive carpets. It flowers from March to May, taking advantage of the early spring sun before the woodland canopy fills in blocking out the light. Once the trees in a wood have rebuilt their spring canopy of leaves, the plant’s flowers wither and fall.
The upright stem of the Wood Anemone is unbranched and bears a single star-shaped flower. The white flowers have no honey and little scent as they do not rely upon insects to produce seed. As in all the Anemones, there are no true petals. What appear to be white petals are in reality tepals, which have assumed the colouring and characteristics of petals. They are usually six in number. A whorl of three stalked leaves grows halfway up the stem. These leaves are divided into 3-5 leaflets, which are in turn deeply cut.