If left to grow, road verges can become havens for wildlife – and are home to some of the UK's favourite wildflowers
Save our roadside flowers
Bluebells are one of our best-loved flowers – and the UK is one of the best places in the world to see them.
Cowslips are another spring flower, with cheery, golden blooms, that are associated with many English traditions, such as being used in May Day garlands. A cousin of the more commonly seen primrose, cowslips have suffered declines in recent years, and the swathes of yellow that would once have been seen in the meadows and woodlands of old are now a rare sight.
Oxeye daisies, with their large, flat white flowers, are commonly seen on road verges throughout summer. The petals are so bright that they can glow at night-time, giving the flowers their folk names of 'moon daisy' and 'moonpenny'.
Devil's-bit scabious has tall stems and round, pincushion, purple-blue flowers that are extremely attractive to bees and butterflies. In particular, the declining Marsh Fritillary butterfly – classified as a priority species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan – relies on devil's-bit scabious as a source of food.
Bird's-foot trefoil has a wealth of folk names. Some of these, such as eggs and bacon, refer to its bright yellow and red-streaked flowers. Others – granny's toenails, devil's fingers – describe the long, bird's-foot shaped seedpods that appear in autumn.
Meadow crane's-bill, a native geranium that flowers between June and August, is now more commonly seen at the side of the road than in meadows. It provides splashes of colour with its purple summer flowers and deep red autumn leaves.
Little Green Space April 2017
Let it grow!
Road verge in Dorset © Plantlife