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Wild flower Specification Manual By Grahame Dixie and Matthew Swift


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Wild flower

Specification

Manual
By

Grahame Dixie

and

Matthew Swift

H.V. Horticulture

Dorset

H .V. Horticulture Ltd.

Spring Mead

Bedchester

Shaftesbury December 1996

Dorset SP7 OJU Copyright: G.B.R. Dixie

Tel. 01747 811778 ISBN 0 9529989 2 0
Preface
The aim of this document is to provide the designer, ecologist and gardener with a detailed understanding of the most attractive of our native wild flowers so as to facilitate appropriate species selection and specification.
A standard format is applied to each of the 73 species covered in this publication.
A brief description is given of each species covering appearance, size and flowering to provide the reader with a thumb-nail sketch of the plant. The text then sets out our best understanding of the natural and semi-natural habitats where the individual species is found. This information is gleaned from various authoritative sources such as ‘Comparative Plant Ecology’ by J.P.Grime et al, ‘The Wildflower Handbook’ produced by the Department of Transport, Volumes 1,2 and 3 of ‘British Plant Communities’ by J.S.Rodwell, ‘Wild Flowers of Britain’ by Roger Phillips and ‘Flora Britannica’ by Richard Mabey allied with personal observations. This section aims to clarify the range of habitats in which the species are found and to present the best quantitative and qualitative data on their environmental requirements.
A diagrammatic table is used to set out the flowering season of each species and to provide the best information on soil pH, fertility and moisture status that the plant enjoys and its tolerance of shade.
The final section aims to provide suggestions for the species’ potential role in habitat re-construction projects, in designed landscapes and in the garden. This covers where the plants could be established, typical micro-habitats and how the plants can be incorporated into the various environments within a garden. Wherever possible recommendations are given for species management in terms of cutting and timing. Finally, the role of the plant in attracting insects and butterflies is set out. This lists whether the plant is an important nectar source, specifies which butterflies have a preference for the plant’s nectar and notes which plants act as hosts for individual butterfly’s larva.
We would recommend that when designing a project using wild flowers that soil samples are taken and analysed for pH, available Phosphate (using Olsen’s extraction technique), Potassium and available and total Nitrogen. The results help build up a picture of the soils fertility and its acidity/alkalinity. A resource audit of the site’s micro-habitats helps define the size and range of environments that can be utilised. A rapid local survey of the native flora normally provides valuable clues as to which species thrive locally. We find that the county Naturalist Trusts are invaluable as a source of information as to appropriate local species of plants and the natural National Vegetation Classifications of the area. It is by combining the site specific information with the data in this book that the designer, ecologist or gardener can confidently recommend a range of wild flowers which will suite the site and match the objectives of the individual scheme.
Contents Page
Common and Latin names listed




Common name

Latin name

Page

1

Agrimony

Agrimonia eupatoria

1

2

Bell Heather

Erica cinerea

1

3

Betony

Stachys officialis

2

4

Birds Foot Trefoil

Lotus corniculatus

2

5

Black Knapweed

Centaurea nigra

3

6

Bladder Campion

Silene vulgaris

3

7

Bluebell

Hyacinthoides non-scripta

4

8

Bugle

Ajuga reptans

4

9

Cats Ear

Hypochaeris radicata

5

10

Chicory

Cichorium intybus

5

11

Clustered Bellflower

Companula glomerata

6

12

Common Vetch

Vicia sativa

6

13

Common Spotted Orchid

Dactylorhiza fuchsii

6

14

Common Tormentil

Potentilla erecta

7

15

Common Dog Violet

Viola riviniana

7

16

Cow Parsley

Anthriscus sylvestris

8

17

Cowslip

Primula veris

8

18

Cross-leaved or Bog heather

Erica tetralix

9

19

Cuckoo Flower or Lady’s Smock

Cardamine pratensis

9

20

Devils Bit Scabious

Succisa pratensis

10

21

Early Purple Orchid

Orchis mascula

11

22

Field Scabious

Knautia arvensis

11

23

Germander Speedwell

Veronica chamaedrys

12

24

Greater Knapweed

Centaurea scabiosa

12

25

Greater Stitchwort

Stelleria holostea

13

26

Ground Ivy

Glechema hederacea

13

27

Green Winged Orchid

Orchis morio

13

28

Harebell

Campanula rotundifolia

13

29

Heath Bedstraw

Galium saxatile

14

30

Heather

Calluna vulgaris

15

31

Hedge Bedstraw

Galium mullugo

16

32

Herb Robert

Geranium robertianum

16

33

Kidney Vetch

Anthyllis vulneraria

16

34

Lady’s Bedstraw

Galium verum

17

35

Lesser Celandine

Ranunculus ficaria

17

36

Marsh-marigold or Kingcup

Caltha palustris

18

37

Marsh Helleborine

Epipactis palustris

18

38

Meadow Buttercup

Ranunculus acris

19

39

Meadow Cranesbill

Geranium pratense

19

40

Meadow Sweet

Filipendula ulmaria

20

41

Musk Mallow

Malva moschata

20

42

Nettled Leaved Bellflower

Campanula trachelium

21

43

Ox-eye Daisy

Leucanthenum vulgare

21

44

Perforate St Johns Wort

Hypericum perforatum

22

45

Primrose

Primula vulgaris

22

46

Purple Loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria

23

47

Ransom or Wild Garlic

Allium ursinum

23






Common name

Latin name

Page

48

Red Campion

Silene dioica

24

49

Ragged Robin

Lychnis flos-cuculi

24

50

Rough Hawkbit

Leontodon hispidus

25

51

Sainfoin

Onobrychis viciifolia

25

52

Selfheal

Prunella vulgaris

26

53

Small Scabious

Scabiosa columbaria

26

54

Snowdrop

Galanthus nivalis

27

55

Sweet Woodruff

Galium odoratum

27

56

Tufted Vetch

Vicia cracca

28

57

Vipers Bugloss

Echium vulgare

28

58

Water Avens

Geum rivale

29

59

White Campion

Silene alba

29

60

Wild Daffodil

Narcissus pseudonarcissus

29

61

Wild Foxglove

Digitalis purpurea

30

62

Wild Majoram

Origanum vulgare

30

63

Wild Strawberry

Farrago viscera

31

64

Wild Thyme

Thymus drucei(praecox)

31

65

Wood Anemone

Anemone nemorosa

32

66

Wood Avens

Geum urbanum

32

67

Wood Sage

Teucrium scorodonia

33

68

Wood Sorrel

Oxalis acetosella

33

69

Yarrow

Achillea milliefolium

34

70

Yellow Iris

Iris pseudocorus

34

71

Yellow Archangle

Lamiastrum galebdolon

35

72

Yellow Meadow Vetching

Lathyrus pratensis

35

73

Yellow Toadflax

Linaria vulgaris

36


Key To Habitat Classifications:
All species except Chicory and Snowdrop include NVC ( National Vegetation Classification) codes taken from J.S Rodwell’s British Plant Communities volumes 1 to 3. Habitat types are shown in three ways CG1,CG1,CG1. A normal type coding indicates a habitat where the species occurs, if a coding is in bold type it shows a habitat where the species is constant through the community, if in italics that coding indicates the species is common in sub-communities. The codings below set out the major classifications of the NVC.


Woodlands & Scrub

W

Mires

M

Heaths

H

Mesotrophic (neutral) Grasslands

MG

Calcicolous (alkaline) Grasslands

CG

Calcifugous (acidic) Grasslands

U

The tables showing the environmental requirements for the individual species have solid black blocks “▄▄▄▄▄“ indicate where it does best, while the “▄ ▄ ▄“ show where the plant will grow, but may not thrive.


The tables also set out when the plants are in full flower “▄▄▄▄▄“ and when flowering is more intermittent “▄ ▄ ▄“.
SPECIES DESCRIPTION

1 Agrimony ( Agrimonia eupatoria )
Description and Habitat: This perennial plant has large arrow shaped leaves and produces yellow flowers on a tall erect stem (50cm to 80cm) from June to August with rust coloured hooked fruits. Agrimony is a common way-side perennial which thrives on dry, open, circum-neutral and calcareous grasslands, ( MG1,5,9, CG2,3,6,7). The plant does very well on wastelands and chalk pastures. It is common throughout England, but not in Northern Scotland. The plants height means that it grows above most grasses and requires very little management except cutting back in autumn.


Months

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Flowering

▄ ▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄ ▄




6.5>

6.5-5.0

5.0<




pH

Alkali

▄ ▄ ▄ ▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄ ▄ ▄

Acidic

Fertility

Low

▄ ▄ ▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄ ▄ ▄ ▄

High

Moisture

Dry

▄ ▄ ▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄ ▄ ▄ ▄

Wet

Shade

Sun

▄ ▄ ▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄ ▄ ▄ ▄

Shade

Role: This is a late summer flowering plant of meadows, banks and pastures and once established requires little management. Planted against a dark background, like a hedge, sets off the tall yellow flower spikes. Often found alongside paths and roads. Agrimony is important nectar source for butterflies, bees, hoverflies, while its leaves provide protection for many insects.


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