Umbellifers in June

Umbellifers in June

Here are four plants that are in flower now – two garden plants and two wildflowers. They are all members of the Umbellifer family which includes the root vegetables carrot and parsnip, the herbs parsley, fennel, celery and dill,  decorative garden plants  such as eryngium and astrantia and wild flowers such as carrot, cow parsley, hogweed and pignut. The family name is based on the genus Apium which was first used in 50 AD to describe a celery-like plant such as Apium graveolens Wild Celery. Apium could mean ‘liked by bees’. The common name Umbellifer is from the arrangement of the flowers in a compound umbel – a main umbel branching into many partial umbels, as in the wild carrot.

Eryngium bourgatii

Mediterranean Sea Holly Eryngium bourgatii  is a popular garden plant.

Wild carrot

Wild Carrot Daucus carota has a single deep purple flower at its centre. Its function is unknown. It is a common wildflower that appears in June. The subspecies sativus is cultivated worldwide as a root crop.

Astrantia major

Great Masterwort Astrantia major was introduced to Britain in the 16th century and is a popular garden plant.

Heracleum spondylium.

Hogweed Heracleum spondylium is a common native wildflower that grows to a height of 2m in May or June. The Giant Hogweed Heracleum mantegazzianum was introduced from Asia as an ornamental but has escaped. It is found along river banks and can reach 7m in height. It should be avoided because its sap causes burns.

Dog Rose and Field Rose

Dog Rose and Field Rose

Two similar-looking native wild roses come into flower in June – the Dog Rose Rosa canina and the Field Rose Rosa arvensis. Identification is based on the way the two species differ in the arrangement of the stigmas at the centre of the flower. Neither species was significant in the development of the garden rose. It is estimated that there are over 200 rose species and up to 30,000 cultivars in the world. They are popular as garden and cut flowers and for use in the perfume and cosmetic industries. Most of the cultivars have been produced from less than 10 rose species.

The flowers of the Rose family always have some form of  hypanthium to enclose the ovaries. In Roses the hypanthium forms a deep cup which eventually becomes the red fruit known as the rose hip. Each ovary has a long style which ends in a stigma, the part of the flower that receives pollen. The pollen-releasing anthers protrude from the rim of the hypanthium. Pollinators visit the flowers to collect pollen. The flowers do not offer nectar. 


The Dog Rose is a  tall shrub, reaching 3m. Its petals are pink or white. It is the  most common native wild rose,  growing in woods, hedgerows and scrub in Britain, Europe, SW Asia and N Africa. It is pollinated by bees looking for pollen. It flowers in June and July.

The Field Rose is a native low growing shrub (1m) or climbs over other shrubs. Petals are always white. It is found in woods, hedgerows and scrub in Britain and Europe. It is pollinated by bees and other insects looking for pollen. It flowers in June and July.

The Dog rose hypanthium is  at the centre of this photo of the flower. A clump of  yellow  female stigmas sits on the top of the hypanthium. Numerous yellow anthers emerge from the rim of the hypanthium. The anthers  turn brown after releasing pollen. 

The Field Rose  has styles that are united into a column which emerges from the centre of the hypanthium with the stigmas in a clump at the top of the column. The Dog Rose, in comparison, has no column. Numerous yellow anthers emerge from the rim of the hypanthium, ready to release pollen.

Flowers in June

Flowers in June

In June most trees have finished flowering but wild and garden flowers are abundant. These photos were all taken on June 2nd or 3rd 2020 after a spring period which was the driest and sunniest on record. 

poppy flower

Common Poppy Papaver rhoeas. A native wild flower found on field edges and waste places through most of Britain. No nectar is secreted but insects are attracted by the copious pollen shed by the numerous anthers. Bees collect pollen by lying on their sides and draw the anthers between their legs to work pollen into their pollen baskets

Greater Knapweed flower

Greater Knapweed Centaurea scabiosa. A member of the Daisy family, the flowers of the Greater Knapweed  have central disc florets and sterile ray florets. Each disc floret first produces pollen, then becomes receptive to pollen and ultimately produces a seed.

Field Scabious flower

Field Scabious is a wild flower native to Britain and found in dry grassy places. It flowers from June to October and is visited by bees and butterflies.

lupin flowers

A Lupin hybrid in a garden.  Lupinus is a genus of more than 200 species found in North and South America and the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the Pea Family. European lupin species were introduced to Britain in the 14th century but superseded as garden flowers by introductions from America from the 17th century onwards.

Kniphofia inflorescence

Red Hot Poker Kniphofia uvariaThis species, originally from South Africa, produces tall spikes of red flower buds that open to form orange/yellow tubular flowers. It was introduced to Britain by Francis Masson in the 1770s. He had been sent by Kew on a plant-hunting trip to South Africa.

pyramidal orchid

The Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis is found throughout Britain on chalk grassland. It grows from a tuber and is in flower from June to August The flowers have a strong sweet smell. It is pollinated by moths and butterflies and has tiny flowers with long spurs which have no nectar, so the species is one of the ‘food-deceptive’ orchids.

Dog Rose flowers

The Dog Rose Rosa canina is a tall shrub, reaching 3m. Its petals are pink or white. It is the most common native wild rose, growing in woods, hedgerows and scrub in Britain, Europe, SW Asia and N Africa. It is pollinated by bees looking for pollen. It flowers in June and July. The beetle on the lower rose is a thick-legged flower beetle Oedemera nobilis. 

sainfoin flowers

Sainfoin Onobrychis viciifolia. Another member of the Pea family,  it is a native wildflower common to lime-based soils. Sainfoin is French for ‘healthy hay’. It was originally fed to cattle by farmers to keep cattle healthy but now is usually found in field edges.