What's that Wildflower?

Can you tell your Corncockle from your Cornflower? 

Wild flowers

There are some plants we all know at first glance, the bright red poppy, or the tiny daisy, but could you tell the difference between upright hedge parsley and burnet saxifrage? If you came across a beautiful wildflower, on a walk in a woodland or amongst unmown grass in your local park, how would you go about finding out what it is?

What steps can you take to make identifying a wildflower that little bit easier?

We’ve created a Wildflower ID template to help you, and your friends and family, look at wildflowers more closely and to help you begin to build a botanical vocabulary. It is not intended to be exhaustive, but we hope it will help you pay closer attention to wildflowers and develop the eyes, and noses, of a botanist!

This template assumes that you’re looking at wildflowers in bloom during the Summer months, and that’s a very good place to start when you’re learning to identify wildflowers. We've even filled out a few templates of our own for you to download that will help get you started! 

Print out some copies, share them out, and work through the template next time you’re out and about.

You’ll soon realise that there is far more to wildflower identification than what colour it is!

 

Wildflower ID template

Common poppy

Take some Wildflower ID templates outside with you and note down what you see. 

Resources to help you identify wildflowers

Multiple large white daisies with yellow centres.

Once you’ve gathered your observations you could refer to one of these resources and try to make a correct identification.

Websites

Grow Wild's Kerry shares how she learnt to identify wildflowers and her top tips for you to get started with wildflower ID: https://www.growwilduk.com/blog/how-i-learnt-identify-wildflowers

Explore the Wildlife Trust’s wildflower guides onine: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer

Try out the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland’s (BSBI) questionnaire on the characteristics of the plant you are trying to identify: http://www.botanicalkeys.co.uk/flora/

Check ou BSBI's tips to get started with wildflower ID: https://bsbi.org/get-involved

Our wildflower gallery is full of photos of UK native wildflowers: https://www.growwilduk.com/wildflowers/learn-about-wildflowers/wildflower-gallery

Plantlife’s spotter sheets are sorted by flowering month and habitat, helping you slim down your identification: https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/discover-wild-plants-nature/spotter-sheets

Search Kew's online records using any words describing your plant: http://www.plantsoftheworldonline.org/

Books

The Wild Flower Key by Francis Rose

The Collins Wild Flower Guide by David Streeter

Wild Flowers by Simon Harrap

Apps

The iNaturalist app  can help you to identify plants, but also record and share what you’ve found with a community of scientists and enthusiasts around the world. 

Wildflower leaves

Yarrow leaves

Brandon Shaw, a Masters student at Kew, guides us through what makes leaves one of the most revealing features of plants: https://www.growwilduk.com/blog/what-leaves-reveal-about-wildflowers

Wildflower smells

Cluster of four-petaled white flowers against green blurred background.

At the height of Summer, when flowers are in bloom, their scents waft on the breeze... but why, and what use is smell when you are trying to identify wildflowers? Find out in our blog: https://www.growwilduk.com/blog/why-do-wildflowers-smell

Wildflower colours

Close-up of vivid yellow flower with long thin petals.

Check back for more information about using colour to identify wildflowers soon...