I decided to visit Withdean Woods today as I needed to walk my dog and wanted to check out what early woodland flowers I could find popping up.
Firstly, I shall mention wild daffodil (Naricissus pseudonarcissus). This species belongs to the Liliaceae family and grows in clumps as I had found it today. It represents a now uncommon species, as most daffodils we see are the cultivated form. The most obvious difference between the two types are that the wild form has an outer pale yellow perianth and an inner golden yellow trumpet, whereas the cultivated form has an all golden yellow flower. The flower heads are also angled slightly downwards.
My next find was from the family Violaceae, the early dog-violet (Viola reichenbachiana). This was an exciting find for me, having found V. odorata just last week. Admittedly not the best image as I only have my iphone as a camera, but you can just make out the pointed sepals on this plant, as well as the spur being straight and darker in colour than the corolla, which helps distinguish this plant from V. riviniana.
Next on the list is not a flowering plant at all, but the hart’s tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium) from the family Aspleniaceae. This fern is easily distinguishable by it’s unbroken strap-shaped fronds, and is common in damp woodlands.
And finally we have the unusual looking stinking hellebore (Helleborus foetidus) from the Ranunculaceae family. This plant almost looks almost out of place within our native flora with dark evergreen leaves and green flowers. In true buttercup style, the calyx forms what you see as ‘petals’ and have purple tinged edges.