The diversity of plants in our green spaces not only allows wildlife to thrive, but people too. From a purely aesthetic perspective, humans are wired to respond positively to plants and nature (as well as other forms of life). Seeing greenery and colourful flowers helps us feel more relaxed and calm, which in turn benefits our everyday mood.
Next time you’re out and about, take a mindful moment to treat your senses and admire the beauty that surrounds us. Here are a few of the plants and flowers you can look out for at our natural green spaces this time of year.
Found from June-September in places where there is low-fertility soil, the stem, leaves and flowers of the plant are tinged with red. Popular with carder bees and wasps, it is also the sole food source of the red bartsia bee.
The progenitor of the cultivated parsnip, wild parsnip thrives in rough, dry grassland. It’s a source of food for various insects like the parsnip moth and parsnip swallowtail butterfly, and it can provide a home to insects such as common red soldier beetles. *
The frothy, pinkish flower clusters appear from July to September and are attractive to all kinds of insects, including butterflies like the small tortoiseshell and red admiral.
Each flower head is made up of tiny individual tubular flowers, brimming with nectar. If you watch a bumblebee on a knapweed you’ll see its long tongue probing into the tiny separate flowers.
Flowering between June and August, these flowers provides a valuable food source for long-tongued insects like brimstone butterflies, red-tailed bumblebees and elephant hawk-moths.
* Whilst wild parsnip root is edible, the shoots and leaves should be handled with caution as their sap contains light-sensitive chemicals to protect the plant from the parsnip webworm. These chemicals can cause a skin reaction called phytophotodermatitis particularly on bright, sunny days.
Remember – take a photo, not a flower, share the joy!