The organisation Plantlife was started back in 1989 to help conserve and protect British wild plants. In the year 2002, Plantlife got the British public involved in choosing wild flowers to represent each county. This endeavour was undertaken to show the range and diversity of the plant life found across the UK.
The county flower for Suffolk is the oxlip. Similar in appearance to primroses and cowslips, however oxlips have slightly larger, paler flowers. The flower heads on the oxlip all hang in one direction, in clusters which range from ten to thirty on a single stem. Found in woodland, the best time of year to spot this flowers is between April and May. A nationally scarce wildflower, the oxlip is considered “near threatened”.
Did you know - the oxlip was considered to be a hybrid of cowslip and primrose, however in 184 botanist Henry Doubleday proved this conclusion to be incorrect. He conferred with a scientist you may have heard of - one Charles Darwin, who wrote a paper to confirm Doubleday’s work.
The common poppy is the county flower for both Norfolk and Essex. The striking red of the poppy makes it a distinguishable flower. Thriving in farmland and waste ground, an abundance of poppies can make fields turn red. You can spot this wildflower between June and September across the country, however developments in modern agriculture has affected the plant’s range.
Did you know - in Ancient Greece and Persia, the poppy was a symbol associated with love however the Romans deemed the poppy to be a sacred flower and a symbol of Ceres, the goddess of agriculture.
The county flower for Cambridgeshire (and also Hertfordshire) is the pasqueflower. A truly magnificent wildflower, the pasqueflower blooms around Easter and is easily identified by its large purple bloom and golden stamens. Growing in grasslands, limestone banks and on hillsides, the best time of year to spot this flower is in April. Considered “vulnerable”, this wildflower is rare due to the threat posed by the loss of habitat in which it grows.
Did you know - The pasqueflower, as legend would have it, springs from the blood of Viking warriors and grows upon their graves.
Image © to xulescu_g from Flickr