Wildflowers

The unimproved calcareous grasslands of the Commons make them the perfect place for lots of unusual wildflowers. Here are just a few of the rarest you can see.

Fragrant orchids live up to their name

Fragrant orchid

The distinctive smell from the fragrant orchid on a summer's evening is something you may never forget.

The purple pasque flower

Pasqueflower

The spectacular pasqueflower flowers in late April. Sadly, it's very short lived.

Common juniper is native to the UK but it's in decline

Juniper

With their small, needle-like green leaves, juniper plants are easy to recognise. Fortunes have changed for this prickly shrub and it's now in decline in the UK.

Cowslips brighten up the landscape

Cowslip

The Commons turn egg-yolk yellow when the cowslips start flowering in spring.

Bee orchids flower during the summer

Bee orchid

This small and flamboyant orchid can be seen flowering between June and July. It loves the dry calcareous grasslands found on the Commons.

The carline thistle looks like a dying daisy

Carline thistle

Looking more like a dead daisy, the carline thistle is really in full flower.

Autumn gentians are late flowering biennials

Autumn gentian

The mauve flowers from the autumn gentians look terrific between July and October. You can sometimes see them growing in large groups.

Marjoram likes dry, infertile calcareous soil

Marjoram

Marjoram provide the insects on the Commons with an excellent source of nectar and pollen. It's a favourite of bumblebees and butterflies.

The limestone grassland is carpeted in field scabious during the summer

Field scabious

The stems of the field scabious are rough and hairy, just like scabby skin.