As volunteering sessions are suspended for the foreseeable future I spent some of my social distancing time on Thursday walking around the reserve to see what flowers are out. Here is a selection.
Next to the car park there are a number of Flowering Current (Ribes sanguineum) shrubs currently in flower. It's a garden escape which seems to have very successfully escaped to Cromwell Bottom. If you look closely at the pink flowers you will see that they have five outer splayed petals, and five inner petals that form a tube. They are in hanging racemes (flower cluster with the separate flowers attached by short equal stalks). The leaves have 3 to 5 rounded lobes.
There are many Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) trees around the reserve. They are usually smallish looking more like a large bush than a tree but can be easily recognised at this time of the year as they have white flowers but no leaves. The white flowers contrast starkly with the black or very dark wood (hence the name). The flowers have five rounded white petals with numerous stamens.
During the year the Sloes develop which can be picked in Autumn to flavour your gin or make Sloe jam but watch out for those sharp thorns!
One of the earliest dandelion look-a-likes to appear in the year is Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara). You will see it flowering without leaves, the disproportionate sized leaves appear later usually after flowering has finished. The stems are scaly and sometimes red.
See this picture of a Dandelion (Taraxacum agg.) for comparison, a few early ones are already out:
2 members of the Buttercup family are currently displaying.
Marsh Marigolds (Caltha palustris) have been out for several weeks already. You can see them in the course of the disused canal opposite the dipping ponds, they like wet conditions. They look like very large buttercups but with large very un-buttercup like leaves
Lesser Celandines (Ficaria verna) are just appearing, they are low growing and are in a number places in the reserve, the one I photographed was by the river. The number of yellow petals is variable, the outers are green tinged. The leaves are glossy and heart shaped.
There will be much more to emerge in the coming weeks.