25 April 2013

In the last week or so, spring has finally sprung - leaves and flowers unfurling almost as we watch. Primrose, cowslip, barren strawberry, blackthorn and cherry plum -  all hunched and tight shut against the cold for so long, rapidly shrug off winter, throwing their flowers open to the sun.

But the ground is still cold, so the real spring growth surge, when the meadows seem to double in height overnight, has not yet begun. This means that early flowering species are particularly visible this year as their flowers are carried above the short sward.

At Mickfield Meadow, the Wood Anemone  - Anemone nemorosa is a striking example of such an early species. Patches of this delicate species waiver in the spring breeze.

Wood Anemone or Wind flower is a strong indicator of ancient and undisturbed land. It is more commonly associated with ancient woodland than grassland, its early flowering taking advantage of higher light levels before the woodland canopy closes over.  But old, undisturbed grasslands have many of the characteristics of ancient woodland glades and rides so it should be no surprise that Wood Anemone can occur in both.