Following the mild winter, some flowers are out in February that normally would not be seen until March. Two wild flowers, the Lesser celandine and the Coltsfoot are in flower as are two trees, the Cherry Plum with white flowers and the Goat Willow with yellow catkins.
Lesser celandine Ranunculus ficaria is a native wild flower found in shady areas by streams throughout Britain. It is pollinated by flies and bees. It normally flowers from March to May. It has heart-shaped leaves and 8 to 12 petals. Anthers release pollen before the stigma is receptive but if no insects are present the plant will self-pollinate.
Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara is generally considered a weed, growing on waste ground, arable fields and bare places. It flowers before the leaves, as shown here. When the heart-shaped leaves appear they are similar to, but smaller than, those of the Butterbur. It is a member of the Daisy family.
The Cherry Plum is also known as the Myrobalan Plum. It is native to a region from the Balkans to central Asia and has been cultivated in Britain from the 16th century. It is a thorny shrub or small tree and is frequently planted in urban areas because it is one of the first trees to come into flower in the spring. It is often confused with the Blackthorn.
The Goat Willow is a shrub or small tree also known as Pussy Willow and Great Sallow. It is native to Europe (including Britain) and Asia. In Britain it is found everywhere in woodlands, scrub and hedgerows. The male catkins are yellow when full of pollen in March and April.