All illustrations by Felicity Rose Cole
1. Flowering currant (above) Ribes sanguineum
Trusses of musky, rose-pink flowers appear as leaves unfurl. Occasional garden escape and often planted.
2. Cherry plum Prunus cerasifera
An orchard escape or planted tree, often mistaken for blackthorn (but flowers earlier). Hedges and verges.
3. Goat willow (sallow) Salix caprea
Male catkins (‘pussy willow’) are golden; females are dull green. Woods, waste ground, riverbanks.
4. Common gorse Ulex europaeus
Coconut-scented; can be found blooming year-round. Rough ground, moors and commons.
5. Spurge laurel Daphne laureola
Sweet-smelling flowers, often hidden by leathery leaves with waxy texture. Chalk or limestone woods.
6. Dog’s mercury Mercurialis perennis
Carpets floors of woods on clay or limestone. Spreads by rhizomes. Woods and older hedgerows.
7. Shepherd’s purse Capsella bursa-pastoris
Flowers all winter; self-pollinating. Purse-shaped seed capsules. Field edges, gardens and waste ground.
8. Field speedwell Veronica persica
Native to south-west Asia; first UK record in 1825. Big sky-blue flowers all winter. Fields and gardens.
9. Red dead-nettle Lamium purpureum
Rounded lobes to stalked leaves distinguish it from similar species. Annual of arable fields and gardens.
10. Butterbur Petasites hybridus
Stubby male flower spikes appear just before the huge leaves. Damp roadsides and stream valleys.
11. Winter heliotrope Petasites fragrans
Vanilla-scented flowers and broad leaves, smaller than those of butterbur. Verges and hedgerows.
12. Danish scurvy-grass Cochlearia danica
A coastal plant once eaten by sailors as a vitamin C source. Salt-tolerant, spreading rapidly along gritted roads.