listed by colour and then by time of year.
Some forest tree flowers are included on the Trees page.


Snowdrop. Snowdrop

Needing no introduction, snowdrops are usually the welcome first sign that winter will be ending soon.
Photographed in March (rather late in the snowdrop season).
Galanthus nivalis

Bird Cherry. Bird cherry

There are several kinds of wild cherry trees and shrubs on the Reserve, all with white flowers, including the earliest springtime displays. This bird cherry is relatively late, but it produces a notable display.
Photographed in April.
Prunus padus

Wood anemone. Wood anemone
Commonly the earliest of the spring flowers in (as its name implies) woodlands including our oak tree areas.
Photographed in April.
Anemone nemorosa

White Dead-nettle. White dead-nettle

One of several kinds of non-stinging nettles. The flowers are mainly in groups up the stems rather than at the top.
Photographed in April.
Lamium album

Daisy. Daisy

This so-common 'weed' can survive cutting, mowing, treading and every kind of weather.
Photographed in April.
Bellis perennis

Garlic mustard. Garlic mustard

A common contributor to the path-side flora around our Reserve. It's actually a biennial, producing only leaves in its first year, flowering and seeding in the second year.
Photographed in April.
Alliaria petiolata

Ransoms = wood garlic. Ransoms = Wood Garlic

A native wild garlic, ransoms are described as being "common in moist woods" though some of these were transplanted here by the Council in 2020. They are of the lily family of 'monocot' plants. They contribute to the atmosphere of the Reserve!
Photographed in April.
Allium ursinum

Lady's smock. Lady's smock

When one of our Conservation paddocks is referred to as 'a flower-rich meadow' the lady's smock, almost white or very pale pink/mauve, is a major springtime contributor. It's also known as the 'cuckooflower'.
Photographed in April.
Cardamine pratensis

Greater stitchwort. Greater stitchwort

A fairly delicate-looking plant, companion to bluebells in some of our woodlands.
Photographed in April.
Stellaria holostea

Cow parsley. Cow parsley

Very common, on open areas and woodland edges. Cow parsley can grow as tall as a man.
Photographed in May.
Anthriscus sylvestris

Hawthorn. Hawthorn

A shrub, often quite tall and large. Fertilised flowers will produce haws later in the year. There are many different types.
Photographed in May.
Crataegus monogyna

Mountain ash. Mountain ash or Rowan

The rowan or mountain ash is a common small tree, producing a generous crop of orange berries in due season, popular with birds.
Photographed in May.
Sorbus aucuparia

White bluebells. White bluebells

Yes, they really are bluebells, mutant bluebells. We've only a very few on our Reserve. The National Trust is very proud of theirs!
Photographed in May.
Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Elder. Elder

A small tree with curiously soft wood: both flowers and fruits can be harvested for winemaking!
Photographed in June.
Sambucus nigra

Brambles. Brambles

There are many slightly different kinds of brambles, even within our Reserve. Colour, size, number and shape of petals, and growth habit all vary.
Photographed in June.
Rubus species

Cleavers. Cleavers

This is the trailing plant that sticks to your clothes. You'd never normally notice the tiny white flowers.
Photographed in June.
Galium aparine

Ox-eye daisy. Ox-eye daisy

This unmissable giant version of the lawn daisy is found in many grassy communities.
Photographed in June.
Leucanthemum vulgare
(Chrysanthemum leucanthemum)

White clover. White clover

One of the most agriculturally important plants, white clover is the basis of all productive grazing pastures.
Photographed in June.
Trifolium repens

Dogwood. Dogwood

A large shrub, perhaps similar to an elder at first glance but with smoother leaf edges.
Photographed in June.
Cornus sanguinea
(Swida sanguinea)

Dog rose. Dog rose

Decorative but very thorny, this is the wild rose of summer.
Photographed in June.
Rosa canina

Hedge bedstraw. Hedge bedstraw

Producing dense summer growth, this bedstraw is like a more-flowery version of cleavers (to which it is closely related).
Photographed in June.
Galium album

Bindweed. Bindweed

This 'hedge bindweed' is the largest of several kinds of bindweeds (named '-weed' for a horticultural reason!).
Photographed in June.
Calystegia sepium

Meadowsweet. Meadowsweet

This vigorous plant almost takes over some sections of our conservation meadow in early summer.
Photographed in June.
Filipendula ulmaria

Water plantain. Water plantain

A bog plant, as its name implies. It is one of the very few three-petalled flowers.
(Technically, it's a monocot.)
Photographed in June.
Alisma plantago-aquatica

Enchanter's nightshade. Enchanter's nightshade

A woodland shade plant with modest white flowers which will produce hooked seeds. (No relation to deadly nightshade.)
Photographed in June.
Circaea lutetiana

Hogweed = cow parsnip. Hogweed
Cow parsnip

Hogweed, cow parsnip is similar to cow parsley but the heads are more rounded in shape. Not to be confused with the poisonous giant hogweed.
Photographed in July.
Heracleum sphondylium

Common hemp-nettle. Common hemp-nettle

A quick-growing annual with rather modest flowers. The whole plant is hairy with, strangely, two kinds of hairs.
Photographed in July.
Galeopsis tetrahit

Greater burnet saxifrage. Greater burnet saxifrage

There may be quite broad leaves around the base and occasional finer ones higher up the stem.
Photographed in August.
Pimpinella major

Angelica. Angelica

A vigorous plant pushing its way through bramble and stinging nettle undergrowth. Strips of its stems are crystallised for cake decorations.
Photographed in August.
Angelica sylvestris

Radish. Radish

An annual, appearing in imported soil. It may be a wild or, more likely, a garden radish.
Photographed in August.
Raphanus sativus

(Common) knotgrass. Knotgrass
Common knotgrass

A relatively minor component of the pathside vegetation.
Photographed in August.
Polygonum aviculare


Primrose. Primrose

Primroses often provide the first colour in the late winter and early spring.
Photographed in March.
Primula vulgaris

Lesser celandine. Lesser celandine

The lesser celandine is the first of the bright yellow ground flora to signal the arrival of spring. The petals vary in outline and curvature.
Photographed in March and April.
Ficaria verna

Native wild daffodils. Daffodils / Lent lilies

Although planted here by staff of the Countryside Service, these are native wild daffodils, the bulbs having been transplanted from another wild site elsewhere.
Photographed in April.
Narcissus pseudonarcissus

Cowslips. Cowslips

The Reserve's cowslips are confined to areas within the conservation paddocks but are clearly visible from the main path. (The right-hand picture was taken while on duty.)
Photographed in April.
Primula veris

Dandelions. Dandelion

An all too common lawn weed perhaps, but a gloriously colourful contributor to many countryside situations. As a member of the Compositae family (now Asteraceae), 'the' flower is made up of a compact composite assemblage of many miniature flowers, each of which produces one tasselled seed.
Photographed in April.
Taraxacum officinale

Gorse. Gorse or Furze

A very spiny shrub which can grow almost to tree height. Some flowers can be found at any time of year. It's a member of the pea, bean and clover family so it has nodules on its roots providing it with nitrogen.
Photographed in April.
Ulex europaeus

Creeping buttercup. Creeping buttercup

Famous in folklore, buttercups effectively take over as celandines decline. There are several species of buttercup: this one is the creeping buttercup.
Photographed in May.
Ranunculus repens

Common cat's ear. Common cat's ear

Obviously a relative of the dandelion, cat's ear grows much taller, on branching stems.
Photographed in May.
Hypochoeris radicata

Celery-leaved crowfoot. Celery-leaved crowfoot

An annual plant (renewing itself from seed every year), this crowfoot likes boggy conditions. It's a close relative of the buttercups.
Photographed in May.
Ranunculus sceleratus

Common meadow buttercup. Common meadow buttercup

The taller cousin of the creeping buttercup, this common meadow buttercup contributes massively to the May-time colour of the Reserve's conservation meadow.
Photographed in May.
Ranunculus acris

Wood avens. Wood avens or Herb Bennet

The fairly modest yellow flowers will be transformed into clothes-catching burrs, helping to disperse the seeds.
Photographed in May.
Geum urbanum

Bird's-foot Trefoil. Bird's-foot trefoil

Colourful common legume adding fertility to the soil.
Photographed in June.
Lotus corniculatus

Hayrattle. Hayrattle or Yellow rattle

Found within the Reserve only on the conservation meadow. It is partially parasitic on grasses.
Photographed in June.
Rhinanthus minor

Yellow flag/iris. Yellow flag or Yellow iris

The wild yellow relative of garden irises thrives on wet or marshy ground. (It's a 'monocotyledon' genus, like the grasses but more colourful.)
Photographed in June.
Iris pseudacorus

Hop trefoil. Hop trefoil

Another colourful common legume adding fertility to the soil.
Photographed in June.
Trifolium campestre

Sow thistle. Sow thistle

A tall and vigorous relative of the dandelion, with a strong hollow stem.
Photographed in June.
Sonchus oleraceus

Greater bird's-foot tefoil. Greater bird's-foot trefoil
Marsh bird's-foot trefoil

A larger and longer-stemmed version of the ordinary 'bird's-foot trefoil'.
Photographed in June.
Lotus pedunculatus

Hawkweed. Hawkweed

There are reported to be 260 different types of hawkweeds in Britain: it would take a specialist expert to say which species we have at Mill Green.
Photographed in June.  (A slimmer-flowered one has been seen here in November.)
Hieracium species

Meadow pea. Meadow pea
Meadow vetchling
Yellow meadow vetchling

This is a legume supplying nitrogen to the soil and nectar to the pollinating insects.
Photographed in June.
Lathyrus pratensis

Large-flowered or common evening-primrose. Common evening-primrose
Large-flowered evening-primrose

Immensely larger than the normal countryside primrose, this biennial is probably a garden escape.
Photographed in June.
Oenothera biennis
Oenothera glazioviana

Ragwort. Ragwort

Ragwort is poisonous to livestock: it is avoided when grazing but can be dangerous in hay or silage. It is an important food source for a wide range of beneficial insects, using both leaves and flowers.
Photographed in July.
Senecio jacobaea

Charlock. Charlock

Normally a weed in arable fields, seeds were probably brought in with topsoil imported during path refurbishment.
Photographed in August.
Sinapis arvensis


Forget-me-not. Forget-Me-Not

A common plant, so familiar that 'forgetmenot blue' is widely recognised.
Photographed in April.
Myosotis arvensis

Common violet. Common violet

There are a few of these violet plants on our Reserve.
Photographed in April.
Viola riviniana

Wood speedwell. Wood speedwell

The wood speedwell forms delicate clumps mainly in the oakwood areas of the Reserve. The flowers are tiny.
Photographed in April.
Veronica montana

Persian speedwell. Common or 'Persian' speedwell

Hardly huge, the common speedwell is more substantial than the wood speedwell. It is found mainly in the mown grass areas (as a weed on home lawns too).
Photographed in May.
Veronica persica

Bluebell. Bluebell

Best loved perhaps en masse in springtime forests such as the Reserve oak woodland, bluebell flowers develop from over-wintering bulbs after several weeks of leaf growth. Amongst those huge numbers there may be variant forms, rarely pink, occasionally white.
Photographed in May.
Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Meadow cranesbill. Meadow cranesbill

This wild blue geranium is to be found mainly among the tall path-side vegetation.
Photographed in June.
Geranium pratense

Self-heal. Self-heal

A common wild flower of waste ground and woodland edges. All parts are reportedly edible, especially when young and tender.
Photographed in June.
Prunella vulgaris

Teasel. Teasel

A favourite biennial but beware prickles! Mid-line florets open first, working towards top and bottom. Dead heads can be paint-sprayed for Christmas decorations.
Photographed in July.
Dipsacus fullonum


Purple dead-nettle. Red or Purple deadnettle

A colourful non-stinging nettle, not usually growing very tall.
Photographed in April.
Lamium purpureum

Fritillaria. Snake's head fritillary

These rather special wild lilies have been decimated by UK farming systems, so these in our conservation areas are particularly welcome.
Photographed in April.
Fritillaria meleagris

Herb Robert. Herb Robert

Quite a common wildflower, with red hairy stems and red/mauve flowers.
Photographed in April.
Geranium robertianum

Bush vetch. Bush vetch

Thriving with the aid of nitrogen-fixing nodules on its roots, the bush vetch is found on many woodland and pasture edges.
Photographed in May.
Vicia sepium

Marsh thistle. Marsh thistle

Curiously dark leaves make this thistle easily identifiable all year round. It is a rich source of summer nectar.
Photographed in June.
Cirsium palustre

Some orchids. Orchids

Nearly all of our Mill Green orchids are confined to the conservation meadow and are difficult to photograph. However, on the left is a bee orchid: smaller pictures are probably three of the 'common spotted orchid' and two of the 'southern marsh orchid'.
Photographed in June.
Ophrys apifera
Dactylorhiza fuchsii
Dactylorhiza praetermissa

Spear thistle. Spear thistle

One of the very common thistles of roadsides and rough vegetation.
Photographed in June.
Cirsium vulgare

Knapweed. Knapweed

Patches of knapweed with its dark coloured heads occur on the sides of the dam and elsewhere.
Photographed in July.
Centaurea nigra

Water mint. Water mint

This wild mint hides among the vegetation between the dam and the edge of the water, but can also be found in damp patches elsewhere on the Reserve. (The mint cultivated as a herb prefers drier soils.)
Photographed in July.
Mentha aquatica

Purple loosestrife. Purple loosestrife

There are a few specimens partly visible amongst the dense vegetation in the main conservation paddock.
(There are better photos online!)
Photographed in August.
Lythrum salicaria

Woody nightshade. Woody nightshade

Late flowering among the pathside vegetation, flowers are followed by poisonous scarlet oval berries.
Photographed in August.
Solanum dulcamara


Red campion. Red campion

A common, attractive member of the ground flora.
Photographed in April.
Silene dioica

Oak gtree gall. THIS IS NOT A FLOWER
Oak apple gall

When an oak gall wasp lays an egg in the leaf bud of an oak twig the tree reacts by producing this gall, an inch or more across, commonly known as an 'oak apple', in which the wasp larva feeds and develops.
Photographed in April.
Biorhiza pallida (wasp)

Pink bluebells ! Pink bluebells !

Yes, they really are bluebells. We've only a very few on our Reserve. The pink is very pale (though perhaps slightly more obvious than this picture was able to capture).
Photographed in May.
Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Foxglove. Foxglove

Not common on our Reserve. It's a biennial, producing flowers and seed only in its second year. Its poisons have an effect on the heart.
Photographed in June.
Digitalis pupurea

Red clover. Red clover

An agriculturally important 'hay-making' legume. Flowers can be found at almost any time of year.
Photographed in June.
Trifolium pratense

Wood woundwort. Wood (or hedge) woundwort

Square stems and almost orchid-like flowers combine with rather dark colours on this wayside plant.
Photographed in June.
Stachys sylvatica

Broad-leaved willowherb. Broad-leaved willowherb

In fact the slimmest and earliest of the three 'willowherbs' that feature abundantly on our Reserve.
Photographed in June.
Epilobium montanum

Orange hawkweed. Orange hawkweed

A noticeable inclusion in any of our grass-based summer floral communities, with its characteristic flower colour.
Photographed in June.
Pilosella aurantiaca

Musk mallow. Musk mallow

Seasonally variable, a good year produces pink displays among the tall pathside vegetation.
Photographed in July.
Malva moschata

Redshank. Redshank
Common persicaria

An annual plant: seeds germinate readily on disturbed ground. Leaves may have dark markings on them.
Photographed in July.
Persicaria maculosa
(Polygonum persicaria)

Great willowherb. Great willowherb

A tall contributor to our late summer vegetation in many places around the Reserve.
Photographed in July.
Epilobium hirsutum

Himalayan balsam. Himalayan balsam

An attractive enemy! As its name implies, it's a foreign invader, originally a garden specimen. It's an annual plant but it is very free-seeding and harmfully aggressive.
Photographed in August.
Impatiens glandulifera

Geranium. Geranium

There are whole families of geraniums. This is thought to be a 'garden escape'.
Photographed in August.
Geranium species

Rosebay willowherb. Rosebay willowherb

A tall-growing annual appearing in a few patches around the Reserve.
Photographed in July.
Epilobium angustifolium = Chamaenerion angustifolium

Marsh woundwort. Marsh woundwort

Found mainly in the grass areas on the side of the dam. The right-hand picture also shows an orange fungal disease.
Photographed in August.
Stachys palustris


Plantain. Ribwort plantain

There are several kinds of plantain to be found in the UK: this one is known as the ribwort plantain. Despite appearances, it is only very distantly related to grasses.
Photographed in April.
Plantago lanceolata

Common sedge. Common sedge

Looking like a robust kind of grass, the common sedge has characteristic triangular stems. The 'inflorescences' are black when they first appear, but change colour as shown when they open up, remaining vertical or drooping down.
Photographed in April.
Carex nigra

Tellima grandiflora. Fringe cups

Located just beside the wooden bridge over one of the minor brooks, this plant is an American garden escape.
Photographed in May.
Tellima grandiflora

Pendulous sedge. Pendulous sedge

Located at the side of one of the minor brooks, this coarse grass-like plant is in fact another sedge.
Photographed in May.
Carex pendula

Stinging nettle Stinging nettle

Unwelcome to us perhaps, but a food plant for several common types of butterfly.
Photographed in June.
Urtica dioica

Figwort Figwort

A noticeable plant despite its lack of colourful flowers: pollinators are attracted by scent. It has robust square stems.
Scrophularia nodosa

Dock Dock

There are several kinds of dock including 'broad-leaved' and 'curled' (this one): none have decorative flowers with coloured petals.
Photographed in June.
Rumex crispus

Long-leaved dock. Long-leaved dock

This is another 'dock' or 'sorrel' belonging to the genus Rumex, this one with noticeably long, tapered leaves.
Photographed in June.
Rumex longifolius

A species of sedge Sedge species

This is one of the world's many thousands of different sedges: two others of Mill Green's species are detailed above.
Photographed in June.
Carex species

Soft rush. Soft rush

An undramatic contributor on some of the wetter parts of our Reserve.
Photographed in June.
Juncus effusus

Mayweed = pineappleweed = wild chamomile. Mayweed or Pineappleweed or Wild chamomile

A distinctive but very minor contributor to our summer vegetation along path-sides.
(Wikipedia lists nine Latin names.)
Photographed in July.
Matricaria discoidea
Matricaria matricaroides
Chamomilla suaveolens

Bulrush. Bulrush

A bog plant. The big area of bulrushes is inaccessible, on the duck-feeding side of the lake. But there are enough of them to hide a moses basket by the picnic table near the car park. The tatty top bits of the spikes are male, the soft brown velvety cylinders female.
Photographed in July.
Typha latifolia

Soft rush. Branched bur-reed

A bulrush companion or competitor in boggy ground. It grows from underground stems, 'rhizomes'.
Photographed in July.
Sparganium erectum

Great plantain. Great or Greater Plantain

Though widespread in Britain (including some lawns!) there are only a few of these plantains on the Nature Reserve. As might be guessed from the dull flowers, they are wind pollinated: each plant can produce tens of thousands of its small seeds.
Photographed in August.
Plantago major


Grass growing in a wall. The grasses, Gramineae, make up a remarkable category of plants. They can grow almost anywhere; many can survive regular mowing in gardens and on sports pitches. There are reported to be some 160 species of grasses in Britain. Some are found only on sand dunes or mountain tops. World-wide, the group includes all bamboos, giant grasses. It would take a specialist expert many weeks to find out exactly how many grass species are to be found within the Mill Green Nature Reserve. The rest of this page can include only a few of the more obvious ones. 

A particular difficulty lies in the fact that only rarely can a grass be photographed effectively in its natural context: an individual shape can't be made out against its background. Specimens are therefore shown here on an A4 sheet of file paper.

When it comes to looking at grass flowers in practice, there are a number of things not to worry about, like size and colour: some species may be a few inches high if in the open, recovering from a recent mowing perhaps, while its mates have shot up to six feet or more on the edge of the lake or woodland. And many types of grass change colour to reddish or brown as they mature. No, the important thing is shape. But there are complications there too. All grass flower heads emerge from their tubular sheaths so they all appear first in a quite compact, correspondingly tubular form. Many species retain that shape: the form of their flower-head, of their inflorescence, is of a spike.

Spike-shaped grass flowers.
1   •   This not-very-impressive inflorescence is of perennial ryegrass, Lolium perenne. There is no significant difference between the big one and the modest shoot that is smaller than part of that flower. Varieties of this ryegrass are the basis of most of the productive pastures in Britain, as well as virtually all football, rugger and hockey (non-plastic) pitches, and coarse hardwearing lawns.
2   •   At the other extreme, couch or twitch, Elymus repens is known to all too many gardeners as the pernicious grass weed that multiplies the more you chop it up: it can regrow from any part of its rhizomes (underground stems). In our Reserve it is just another contributor to the green summer plenty. (Alternative, Agropyron repens.)
3   •   If you need to tell them apart, 3a couch grass has its florets, the individual flower units, stuck flat-on to the stalk, whereas 3b perennial ryegrass has its florets edge-on to the stalk.
4   •   You can forgive sweet vernal, Anthoxanthum odoratum, for being slightly untidy as it is pretty much the first of the grasses to confirm when springtime is upon us. It is very common in permanent pastures but is rarely included in seeds mixtures.
5   •   Slightly tidier, soon keeping sweet vernal company, meadow foxtail, close-up, is a miniature fox's tail: Alopecurus pratensis. The flower on the left shows the fatter appearance while all the stamens are shedding their pollen into the early summer airs.
6   •   Later, towards midsummer, timothy, Phleum pratense, makes its contribution. The shape may be similar to that of the foxtail, but the texture is much harsher, almost that of a stiff bottle brush.
7   •   With a somewhat less obvious derivation, crested dogstail is a modest contributor in cut or grazed grassland: Cynosurus cristatus, shown as a small specimen newly emerged, and as a larger one with its individual florets opened up. Beware: its flower stalks are very fine and almost tough enough to cut your finger!

But the majority of grass flowers have side branches which are deployed shortly after emergence, forming a pattern more reminiscent of a that of a Christmas tree. There's a huge range of them. Two of the most common and widespread around the Reserve are 'cocksfoot' and 'Yorkshire fog'.
Cocksfoot and Yorshire fog.
1   •   A clump of cocksfoot near the footpath on the end of the dam. Cocksfoot is a tough and drought-resistant grass: it can form the kind of clumps that trip you up.
2   •   On the woodland edge cocksfoot can be vigorous and grow tall. The shape is quite characteristic, with blobs - groups of florets - on the ends of side branches which get shorter nearer the top. Those branches are more or less on one plane, east-west so to say, not all round the stalk.
3   •   (a) Branches begin to move out at right angles as soon as the flowerhead emerges. (b) The typical cocksfoot shape. (c) Once fully emerged the pollen sacks come into operation.
4   •   Yorkshire fog has more of a symmetrical 'Christmas tree' form (distorted a bit when laid flat to have its photo taken). It is very soft, almost woolly in texture, and unpopular with grazers.
5   •   Clearly showing against a suitable background, Yorkshire fog quite often has tinges of mauve colouration on its flowerheads.
6   •   Yorkshire fog can grow mixed in with other grasses, or it can form clumps as here.

As mentioned earlier, to identify all our Reserve grasses would be a massive task, and it is certainly impossible to identify grasses from photographs alone. We end with a tiny selection -
Five different grass species.
1   •   There is a group of moderately tall grasses which have flowers like these, including hairy awns (on a par with the whiskers on ears of barley): they are known as oat grasses. This one is probably Arrhenatherum elatius, 'tall oat grass'.
2   •   Another group of grasses is the 'fescues': some are very common and widespread on other ecosystems such as saltmarshes and moorlands. Our specimen is almost certainly 'meadow fescue', Festuca pratensis.
3   •   Agrostis species have the curious traditional name of 'bent' grasses. They all have almost fairy-like inflorescences with extremely thin branches bearing single-flowered florets. It is reasonable to guess that our specimen is 'common bent', Agrostis tenuis.
4   •   A definitely recognizable grass is the small 'annual meadow grass', Poa annua: it is a very widely distributed annual which can be found in flower at any time of year. It rarely exceeds six inches in height. As with other Poa species, each leaf-tip is shaped like the prow of a boat! (It was reported in 2017 to have been found growing, perhaps thanks to global warming, on the Antarctic continent. A real toughie!)
5   •   Very characteristic is the 'barren brome', Bromus sterilis, which starts off green but commonly changes to this dark colour. It is sterile in name only. There are other 'bromes', but this is the most dramatic of the genus.


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