The mild conditions that have dominated so far this year mean that there are already plenty of wildflowers to be seen in and around the New Forest, especially on verges and patches of woodland with reduced grazing pressure. Common species such as Primrose, Sweet Violet, Lesser Celandine, Snowdrop, Winter Heliotrope, Butcher’s Broom and Dog’s Mercury (pic below) have all been flowering for several weeks, and Wood Spurge also started bursting forth at some sites this week.
Blackthorn started flowering in late February, and Cherry Laurel, a commonly planted exotic much loved by Firecrests in the New Forest, is now in full bloom. Gorse, of course, can be seen in flower throughout most of the year on the open heaths, and Wild Daffodils still occur in some parts of the New Forest (see link below).
On roadside verges near to my house in Woodlands, common ‘weeds’ such as Groundsel, Dandelion, Daisy, Common Chickweed, Common Whitlowgrass, Sheperd’s Purse, Petty Spurge, Green Alkanet, Red and White Dead-nettle, Ivy-leaved and Common Field Speedwell, Ivy-leaved Toadflax, Yarrow, Hairy Bittercress and Cow Parsley are all currently in flower, as well as likely garden 'escapes' such as Spring and Early Crocus (pic below), Creeping Comfrey, Garden Grape-hyacinth, Lungwort, and Lesser and Greater Periwinkle.
At the weekend I also recorded my first aquatic plant in flower: Round-leaved Water-crowfoot (pic below).
So, keep your eyes open in the coming days and see how many of the early spring flowering plants you can see. As well as traditional field guides, I’ve also found the ‘Seasonal Wildflowers’ website to be a really useful resource (link below), as it lists which species start appearing in flower each month.