Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre

ID Guide


Take advantage of the beautiful summer wildflowers while you can! Hues of blues, reds and yellows (to name a few) are transforming woodlands and meadows across the county as wildflowers are in full bloom. Now is the time to enjoy this spectacle of not only the flowers, but also the many other species they support including large numbers of insects. Don't forget to send us in any sightings via Living Record.


Wild Candytuft , Rob Large/ WWT
Wild candytuft - Iberis amara
Found on dry calcareous soils in and around the south of England although it is a nationally scarce plant. Look out for flowering plants in July through to August. It has an attractive white or mauve flower. For 30 years it was particularly well-documented on the Porton Ranges.
Greater Birdsfoot Trefoil, Rob Large/ WWT
Greater Birdsfoot-trefoil - Lotus pedunculatus
Look out for these bright yellow flowers in July to August in damp, wetland marshes and ditches. Clusters of up to 12 pea-flowers are held on the plants hollow stems. This species can sometimes be confused with Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil however it is larger growing up to 70cm.


Water Plantain, Rob Large/ WWT
Water-plantain - Alisma plantago-aquatica
These small (1cm) white lilac tinged flowers can be seen from June until August, a semi-aquatic plant it is found in damp environments, generally on the edges of ponds, canals. The nectars produced by water-plantain attract a variety of insects including caddisflies.



Perforate St Johns Wort, Rob Large/ WWT
Perforate St John’s Wort - Hypericum perforatum
The yellow flowers of this species can be seen between June and October in meadows, hedgerows and woods. Taking its name from the knights of St. John who used the leaves to aid in healing their wounds, the tiny perforations in the leaves can be seen when held up to the light.
Creeping Cinquefoil, Phil Sellens @ Flickr.com
Creeping cinquefoil - Potentilla reptans
This native plant takes its name from the creeping runners which bear its yellow flowers. Creeping cinquefoil can be found on roadsides and hedgerows, so keep an eye out in your travels. Each runner bears a single flower comprised of 5 heart-shaped petals.





Fragrant Orchid, pink form, WSBRC/Sharon Pilkington
Fragrant Orchid - Gymnadenia conopsea
In flower in June and July it is one of Wiltshire’s most common orchid species and can be found on grasslands thriving on chalky and limestone soils. Its flower spikes are usually pink but can be purple or white and attract a variety butterflies and moths. This species lives up to its name with a sweet orangey fragrance most noticeable in the evenings.



Devils Bit Scabious, WWT/ Tony Coultiss
Devils’-bit Scabious - Succisa pratensis
While preferring damp woodlands or marshy areas this species is generally able to grow in most environments. Its rounded flower head of purple-blue can be seen from June to October and make it easily identifiable. While a variety of insects will be attracted to this species it is primarily known as the main larval food source for the Marsh Fritillary butterfly.





Field Scabious, Rob Large/ WWT
Field Scabious - Knautia arvensis
Flowers June to October and grows in dry grassy places usually where the soil is chalky. The flowers are blue or light lilac and resemble rounded pincushions when the male stamens protrude. It is used as a food plant by the Marsh Fritillary and the Bee Hawk-moth as well as many other species of butterflies and bees making it valuable in nature.



Meadowsweet, Rob Large/ WWT
Meadowsweet - Filipendula ulmaria
Preferring wet habitats this is a widespread species flowering between June and September. Its creamy white flowers grow in tight clusters and despite not producing nectar do produce a strong sweet smell that attracts many insects, particularly bees. In contrast to this the leaves of Meadowsweet have a sweet smell of an almond-like scent.
Cornflower, Rob Large/ WWT
Cornflower - Centaurea cyanus
Well known for the distinctive blue colour of its flowers, the Cornflower was considered a weed in the past, it grew in crop fields, previously known as corn fields hence its name. Its native habitat has greatly declined due to agricultural intensification, particularly herbicide overuse.
Red Campion, Rob Large/ WWT
Red Campion - Silene dioica
Flowering between May and October and found on roadsides, woodlands, and rocky slopes. It grows to 30-90 cm, with branching stems which, along with the opposite pairs of deep green leaves, are hairy and slightly sticky. The flowers are dark pink to red in colour and about 2cm across with five deeply notched petals. 
Corn Chamomile, Rob Large/ WWT
Corn chamomile - Anthemis arvensis
Flowering from June to July, Corn Chamomile is an aromatic plant with fragrant flowers and slightly scented leaves - reaching a height of around 20cm. It’s found on sandy soil and roadside verges particularly in the New Forest area.