Wonderful Wildlife Education

Plant Glossary

Acorn

Acorn

The fruit of an Oak tree is hard, oval in shape and set in a green, ridged cup. The fruits are dispersed by animals, which carry the fruits away to eat, often dropping them in the process, enabling the fruit to germinate and grow in a new place.

Ash

Ash

The Ash is a common tree of woodlands, hedgerows, parks and gardens, growing mostly on chalky and basic soils. It has compound leaves, whereby leaflets are arranged along a central stem and characteristic large black buds in the spring. Its seeds are held in long pods which hang in bunches from the branches in the autumn.

Bindweed

Bindweed

A very common pink and white trumpet-shaped wild flower in gardens, hedgerows and woodland. Its long stems clambers over other plants, using its long stems to twine anti-clockwise around other plants. The flowers stay open while the sun shines, but they close in cloudy and wet weather.

BirdsFoot

Birdís-foot Trefoil

Birdís-foot-trefoil grows in grassland, along roadsides and other sunny places. It has three leaflets, with an extra pair close to the stem. The flowers are bright yellow and often streaked with red. The seed pods are arranged like the toes of a birdís foot. When mature, the pod splits in warm sunshine and scatters the seeds onto the ground. It is the larval food plant of the Common Blue Butterfly.

Bluebell

Bluebell

A beautiful spring bell-shaped flower which may carpet woodlands in May. It also grows in hedges and banks, but rarely in pastures. It is common in Britain, but is less often found in north-eastern Scotland. It is highly scented, making it very attractive to flying insects.

BracketFungi

Bracket fungi

Here are many types of Bracket Fungi, all of which grow on trees, obtaining their nutrients from the sap wood of the trees on which they grow. It can grow very large and may persist year after year, becoming more rigid. It mostly grows on dead wood, but some species may grow on living trees, which may cause their early death.

Bramble

Bramble

The Bramble or Blackberry is a scrambling shrub, covered by numerous, sharp thorns. It is renowned for its fast growth. At points where branches touch the ground, roots will grow into the soil and a new plant will rapidly develop. It has white flowers loved by Bees and butterflies and in the autumn, the blackberries provide food for mammals and birds.

Broadleafdock

Broad-leaved dock

Broad-leaved Dock is an upright plant with large, long-stalked, wavy-edged leaves. The green, petal-less flowers are arranged in whorls on a long spike. It grows anywhere in fertile ground, often replacing the grassland when over-grazed by horses or other animals. The seed has small wings attached to enable dispersal by wind. The Dock Family are the larval food plants of the Small Copper butterfly.

Buckthorn

Buckthorn

Buckthorn gets its name from the thorny shoots which resemble the horns of a Roebuck. It can grow into a small tree of up to around 4m to 5m. The leaves are oval, finely toothed and set in pairs and it has inconspicuous green flowers. In the autumn, Buckthorn is particularly attractive because of its warm brown leaves, grey bark and shiny black berries. It is the larval food plant of the Brimstone Butterfly.

Celandine

Celandine

A very attractive bright yellow flower which covers banks and grassland with a sheet of yellow in early spring. By autumn, its leaves shrivel and it almost disappears until it re-emerges the following year. Celandine was formally used as a medical plant to treat vitamin C deficiency.

Coral Fungi

Coral fungi

Coral fungi is bright yellow, branched and jelly like and grows in tufts from old logs and stumps in woodland, particularly on Pine logs and stumps. It is soft and orange-yellow when young, but becomes orange and horny when old.

Elder

Elder

Elder is a shrub or small tree, with deeply furrowed bark and grows up to about 10m in height. In June, the twigs carry 2-3 pairs of leaflets and dense, upright, flat clusters of white, scented flowers, 10-20cm across. The berries are black and held in heavy clusters on red stalks. Elder is extremely common and germinates easily in waste places and on paths and walls.

Fern

Fern

The damp, leaf-litter rich, acidic soil under trees in woodland, usually provides the conditions for the growth of ferns. The fronds usually form a crown-like tuft, from which the new shoots unfurl each spring. They do not flower, but reproduce through spores which grow in clusters on the undersides of the leaves.

Fleabane

Fleabane

Fleabane is a tall, hairy plant with wavy-edged leaves. It is a member of the Daisy Family, having two types of flowers within one. A central circle of disc florets, surrounded by many strap-shaped ray florets. The abundant yellow flowers are held in clusters and provide a great source of nectar for flying insects from July to September.

FlyAgaric

Fly Agaric fungi

A beautiful red toadstool with white scaly scales which are often washed away. It grows in the autumn under Birch, Pine and other trees on poor or acidic soils. They have a distinctive white colar at the base of the stalk, an indicator that this fungi is extremely poisonous and should not be touched.

Hawthorn

Hawthorn

Hawthorn is a small tree with lobed leaves and white flowers with red-tipped stamens. The fruits ripen from green to orange and eventually to clusters of bright red berries in the autumn. The berries are a favourite food of birds and mammals and little heaps of empty fruit cases at the base of Hawthorns, indicating the food stores and homes of Voles and Woodmice.

Hazel

Hazel

The long, yellow, male catkins are a familiar sight in February, but the female flowers can only be seen on close inspection, as they are tiny buds with red tassels. For centuries Hazel has been grown and coppiced to achieve the constant growth of pliable stems, which are used to make many products, such as boats, houses and baskets.

HazelNut

Hazel nut

Hazel nuts are the fruits of the Hazel tree. They are hard green nuts and set in green cases when young, but ripen to form rigid brown nuts when mature. The are eaten by animals and the un-eaten or dropped nuts are able to germinate and grow in a new place.

Holly

Holly

The Holly is a small tree or shrub, often with branches right down to the ground. It has green twigs and dark, glossy leaves with very spiny, wavy edges. The leaves become less spiny and more smooth-edged as they grow further up the tree. White flowers appear in short, stiff clusters from May to August and ripen to red berries in the autumn. Holy has been associated with Christmas for Centuries.

Horse Chestnut Fruit

Horse Chestnut Fruit. "Conker" and leaf

Conkers are the beautiful, large hard, shiny fruits of the Horse Chestnut tree. They are set green, spikey outer cases, which split when the fruit is mature. Although not edible for humans, they are eaten by many mammals, who carry the fruits away enabling the tree to disperse its seeds.

HorseChestnut

Horse Chestnut

The mature Horse Chestnut is a very tall tree and the leaves consist of separate leaflets, arranged in a hand-shape on a central stem. The flowers are very distinctive, great bunches of red or white, covering the tree in a sea of colour to add beauty to a suburban street.

Ivy

Ivy

Ivy is one of Britainís few climbers to reach up to 30m. It has numerous, adhesive-covered roots, which cling to almost anything, such as walls, rocks, houses and trees and also carpets the floor of woods, hedgerows and copses. Ivy is not parasitic and does not take nutrients from the plant over which it grows. It has magnificent globe-shaped flowers with a strong perfume which is particularly attractive to flying insects.

JellyFungi

Jelly fungi

Found throughout the year, but particularly common in the autumn. This type of fungi is often brightly coloured when wet, usually irregularly shaped and jelly-like to the touch. When dry, they become rigid, horny and inconspicuous. It grows on stumps and logs of most trees in woodland.

LadySmock

Ladyís Smock

Ladyís Smock is often called the "Cuckoo Flower" because it comes into flower at around the same time that the Cuckoo arrives in spring. It has delicate lilac or pink flowers, set on fragile stems and it grows in un-mown damp pastures and meadows. Ladyís Smock is a larval food plant of the Orange-tip Butterfly.

Nettle

Nettle

The Common Nettle grows in almost any fertile habitat. It has upright, leafy stems and the whole plant bristles with stinging hairs. When the leaves are touched, the hair-tip breaks off and releases an acid that causes a painful rash. Close inspection with a lens will show the phials of acid at the base of each hair. Nettles are the larval food plants of the Red Admiral, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies.

OakTree

Oak tree

The Oak has a broad crown, massive trunk, broad, strong, bent branches and ridged bark and deeply lobed leaves on tiny stalks. Flowers are yellow-green catkins and the fruits conical acorns, set in scaly, long-stalked cups. It is very long lived, reaching 800 year or more.

Ochre Brittlegill

Ochre Brittlegill fungi

One of the most common of the brightly coloured group of fungi called brittlegills growing in woodland. They are co-called because they break easily if picked. They are bright yellow when young but then become speckled with brown as they age.

Primrose

Primrose

The Primrose is especially adapted to come into flower early in the spring before they are shaded out later in the season by trees. It has pale yellow flowers and grows in grassland, banks, hedgerows, woodlands and gardens. Its nectar provides the food for early flying insects.

Ragwort

Ragwort

Common Ragwort has deeply divided, ragged leaves, with bright yellow, Daisy-like flowers. It is the larval food plant of the yellow and black striped caterpillars of the Cinnabar moth, but it is poisonous to livestock. Although not generally eaten when it is alive and growing, it becomes a major problem when it is dry and fed to animals as hay, when it may cause death.

RestHarrow

Rest-Harrow

Rest-Harrow is a member of the Pea Family and is a creeping, hairy shrub, semi-erect and sometimes with soft spines. The deep pink flowers have a lower lobe and the oval leaves are often set in groups of three. It grows in un-improved grassy places, particularly in the south on calcareous soils. It flowers from July to September.

ShaggyInkCap

Shaggy Inkcap

A common fungi throughout Britain and Ireland. It grows in groups in meadows, woods, roadsides and disturbed ground. Size is between 5 and 15cm tall and about 6cm in diameter. Initially it is egg-shaped, growing to a long bell, with a white cap with edges which liquefy and turn black as it ages. The stems are brittle and hollow and the spores black. It is edible when young.

Sorrel

Sorrel

Sorrel is tall and a member of the Dock Family, but is much more delicate than Broad-leaved Dock. The leaves are arrow-shaped and the upper ones clasp the plant where it joins the stem. The petal-less, red-tinged flowers are set in whorls and held on loose spikes. It flowers from May to July, when it may colour an area of grassland with a haze of red if growing in abundance.

Speedwell

Speedwell

A tiny, bright blue flower, which grows throughout Britain, often carpeting areas of grassland and playing fields with a sea of blue. It also grows along paths, roadsides and gardens. It likes a loamy soil and prefers a slightly acid soil.

SulphurTuft

Sulphur Tuft fungi

This fungi grows in large clumps on stumps of all kinds of trees and the caps are bright sulphur yellow, tinged with brown in the centre. Unlike Honey Fungus, which it resembles, Sulphur Tuft does not harm living trees. When young, it is bright yellow but turns brown with age.

SweetChestnut

Sweet Chestnut

A tall spreading tree which grows to about 30m. It has deeply-fissured, grey-brown bark, usually twisting spirally around the trunk. It has long, narrow, toothed leaves and long, dangling highly-scented catkins. It flowers in July, which is later than most trees and in the autumn produces the green, spiny fruits which ripen in October.

SweetChestnutFruit

Sweet Chestnut Fruit

The outer case of the Sweet Chestnut is green and very spiny. When mature, this case turns brown and splits to reveal triangular-shaped seeds in a strong, brown covering. The seeds are dispersed by animals, in the same way as acorns and hazel nuts.

Violet

Violet

The Dog Violet is a low perennial and very variable in colour. The flowers are usually blue-violet with a paler spur and pointed sepals and they are situated at the end of leafy, hairless stems. It is the most common Violet to be seen in hedgerows, woods and dry grassland.

VioletSeedPod

Violet seed pod

The fruit of the Violet consists of a triangular-shaped capsule, with the seeds set in rows, like garden peas. As with most fruit pods they mature, but do not split until stimulated by warm sunshine, when they burst open and the seeds drop out.



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