HEIGHT to 50cm Spreading, rather weak-stemmed perennial that is sometimes almost prostrate and mat-forming. Whole plant blackens when dry. Found on heaths and grassland on acid soils. FLOWERS 3mm across, white, 4-petalled, with a sickly smell; in clusters (June–Aug). FRUITS Hairless, warty nutlets. LEAVES Narrow-ovate, bristle-tipped, with forward-pointing marginal bristles. STATUS Widespread and locally common.
HEIGHT to 1m Familiar wayside biennial, often found in hedgerows and on roadside verges. FLOWERS 6mm across, with 4 white petals (Apr– June). FRUITS Cylindrical, ribbed, 4–5cm long. LEAVES Heart-shaped, toothed, smelling of garlic when crushed; borne up stem. STATUS Widespread and common, but least so in the north and west of the region.
HEIGHT to 1.5m Sprawling annual of hedgerows and disturbed ground. Stems are square and rough; backward-pointing bristles on the edges help secure the plant’s scrambling progress through vegetation. FLOWERS 2mm across, greenish white, with 4 petals; in clusters arising from leaf axils (May–Sep). FRUITS Nutlets with hooked bristles. LEAVES With backward-pointing marginal bristles. STATUS Common and widespread.
Erect, stoloniferous perennial with basal STEMS Flowering stem to 30 cm, leafless, glandularhairy. LEAVES Densely hairy; blades 1-4
rounded to kidney-shaped, cordate at base; 15-25 blunt marginal teeth; petioles long, not flattened. FLOWERS Petals 3-5 mm, with red spots and yellow blotch near base. HABITAT Shaded stream sides, mountain rocks; to 915 m. DIST. Native. SW Ireland. (Pyrenees, N Spain.) FLs May-Jul. NOTE Often grows with S. spathularis (p.234) in SW Ireland, hybrid, False Londonpride S. × polita, more abundant than S. hirsuta or occur in the absence
of one or both parents
Square Stalked Willowherb
HEIGHT to 1m Upright, downy perennial with 4-ridged stems (sometimes winged). Found in damp woods and on river banks. FLOWERS 6–8mm across (upright in bud), with pink petals and a club-shaped stigma (July–Aug). FRUITS Pods (6–10cm long) containing cottony seeds. LEAVES Narrow, finely toothed. STATUS Common only in England and Wales.
Wavy Bitter Cress
HEIGHT to 50cm Similar to Hairy Bitter-cress but taller and with wavy, hairy stems. Favours damp and disturbed ground. FLOWERS 3–4mm across with 4 white petals (Mar–Sep). FRUITS Curved, barely overtopping flowers. LEAVES Pinnately divided with rounded lobes; seen as a basal rosette plus 4–10 stem leaves. STATUS Widespread and common.
HEIGHT to 50cm Upright, downy perennial with creeping stems and upright, unbranched, furrowed flowering stalks. The whole plant is strongly aromatic. Grows in meadows, verges and hedgerows, and on waste ground. FLOWERS In heads 4–6mm across, comprising yellowish disc florets and pinkish-white ray florets; heads arranged in flat-topped clusters (June–Nov). FRUITS Achenes. LEAVES Dark green, finely divided, feathery. STATUS Widespread and common throughout.
Hairy Bitter Cress
HEIGHT to 30cm Upright annual with hairless stems. Found on damp, disturbed ground. FLOWERS 2–3mm across (petals sometimes absent) and terminal (Feb–Nov). FRUITS Curved, up to 2.5cm long, overtopping flowers. LEAVES Pinnately divided with rounded lobes; seen mainly as a basal rosette plus 1–4 stem leaves. STATUS Widespread and common.
HEIGHT to 2m Robust, roughly hairy perennial with hollow, ridged stems. Found in meadows and open woodlands and on roadside verges. FLOWERS Off-white, with unequal petals; in umbels with 40 or so rays, and up to 20cm across (May–Aug). FRUITS Elliptical, hairless, flattened. LEAVES To 60cm long, broad, hairy, pinnate, the lobes usually rather ovate. STATUS Widespread and common throughout.
HEIGHT to 15cm Distinctive perennial found on walls and banks, often growing in partial shade. FLOWERS Whitish, tubular and drooping; in spikes (June–Aug). FRUITS Dry, splitting. LEAVES Rounded and fleshy with a depressed centre above the leaf stalk. STATUS Widespread in W Britain and Ireland; scarce elsewhere.
HEIGHT to 10cm Familiar downy perennial found in lawns and other areas of short grass. FLOWERS In solitary heads, 15–25mm across, on slender stems; comprising yellow disc florets and white (often faintly crimson-tipped) ray florets (Mar–Oct). FRUITS Achenes. LEAVES Spoon-shaped, forming prostrate rosettes from which flower stalks arise. STATUS Widespread and common throughout.
HEIGHT to 3m Scrambling shrub that comprises hundreds of microspecies. Arching stems are armed with variably shaped prickles and root when they touch the ground. Found in hedgerows and scrub. FLOWERS 2–3cm across, white or pink (May–Aug). FRUITS Familiar blackberries. LEAVES With 3–5 toothed leaflets. STATUS Widespread and common.
HEIGHT to 45cm Bulbous perennial that smells strongly of garlic when bruised. Grows in hedges and disturbed ground. FLOWERS 2cm long, bell-shaped, white with narrow green stripes; in drooping umbels on 3-sided stems (Mar–June). FRUITS Capsules. LEAVES Narrow, keeled; 3 per plant. STATUS Introduced and naturalised locally in the south-west.
HEIGHT to 50cm Familiar perennial of open woodland, woodland rides and hedgerows. Note rough-edged stems. FLOWERS White, with 5 notched petals; on slender stems (Apr–June). FRUITS Capsules. LEAVES Narrow, fresh green, rough-edged and grass-like; easily overlooked in the absence of flowers. STATUS Widespread and common.
HEIGHT to 30cm Perennial that sometimes forms large carpets on suitable woodland floors. FLOWERS Solitary, comprising 5–10 white or pinkish petal-like sepals (Mar–May). FRUITS Beaked, in rounded clusters. LEAVES On stems, long-stalked and divided into 3 lobes, each being further divided. STATUS Widespread and locally common.
HEIGHT to 90cm Hairy biennial or perennial associated with hedgerows and wayside places. FLOWERS Fragrant, 17–20mm across, with 4 violet or pinkish-white petals; in terminal clusters (May–Aug). FRUITS Long, flattened, curving upwards. LEAVES Narrow, pointed, untoothed, stalked. STATUS Widely naturalised as a garden escape.
HEIGHT to 5cm Mat-forming perennial with wiry stems. Found on rocky ground, shingle and old walls. FLOWERS Star-shaped, 12mm across, with 5 white petals that are pink below (June–Sep). FRUITS Dry, red. LEAVES 3–5mm long, fleshy, often tinged red. STATUS Widespread and locally common, especially in W Britain and Ireland.
CLIMBING, to 2–4m Vigorous, hairless perennial similar to Hedge Bindweed; subtle differences in flower structure allow separation. Grows on disturbed ground and roadside verges, twining around other plants to assist its progress. FLOWERS 6–7cm across, white, funnel-shaped (June–Sep); the 2 epicalyx bracts overlap one another and conceal the sepals. FRUITS Capsules. LEAVES Arrow-shaped, to 12cm long. STATUS Naturalised, mainly in the south where it is locally common.
Sterry, Paul. British Wild Flowers: A photographic guide to every common species (Collins Complete Guide) (pp. 767-768). HarperCollins Publishers. Kindle Edition.