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In the spring and summer, Paxton Pits is a blaze of colour as wild flowers come into bloom. But not all the flowers are bright and gaudy, there are many subtle species that are equally important to our local heritage. Some of the most obvious ones are featured below. You can download a complete list here in two formats: MS Excel (58Kb) and Pdf (113Kb).

Common storksbill Erodium cicutarium 
This low-growing member of the geranium family can be found on bare, sandy areas, where they love the dry conditions.

Common storksbill (Anne Doody)

Cow parsley
Anthriscus sylvestris
Familiar as the roadside flower of late spring, this member of the carrot family is found at the side of the tracks and trails on the nature reserve.

Cow parsley (Karen Howard)

Garlic mustard Alliaria petiolata 
This herb of woodland-edge is also known by its English country name, Jack-by-the Hedge. When crushed, it smells mildly of garlic and has long been used to flavour food.

Garlic mustard (Anne Doody)

Ragged robin Lychnis flos-cucli 
Drainage of meadows and farmland has made this delicate pink flower much rarer than it used to be. Thanfully, there are still a few places at Paxton where you can see it, the most impressive display being in the grounds of the Sailing Club. Please do not enter the Club, but view the meadow west of the clubhouse from the permissive footpath.

Ragged robin (Anne Doody)

Yellow iris Iris pseudacorus 
Also known as yellow flag, the large flowers atop tall, robust stems are easily spotted along ditches and damp areas around the nature reserve. But you don't need to go any farther than the pond outside the Visitors' Centre, where they are abundant in May and June.

Yellow iris (Karen Howard)

Common vetch Vicia sativa
A member of the pea family, this sprawling annual grows close to the ground from April to September.

Common vetch (Karen Howard)

Dove's foot cranesbill Geranium molle
Closely related to our garden geraniums, this close-up photo belies its tiny size: the petals really are small and the flowerhead is less than a centimetre across! Look close to the ground, from April to September.
Dove's foot cranesbill (Karen Howard)

Wild strawberry Fragaria vesca  
The diminutive white flowers of the ground-hugging wild strawberry can be seen in bare sandy areas around the Pits during May, with the tiny fruits appearing in July and August.
Wild strawberry (Anne Doody)

Ox-eye daisy Leucanthemum vulgare
The large flower of the ox-eye daisy is a familiar coloniser of grasslands that have not been sprayed with herbicides. They appear from May until late summer, particularly among the other flowers in the Meadow, next to the Visitors' Centre.
Ox-eye daisy (Karen Howard)

White campion Silene latifolia
The tall stems of white campions wave in the breeze during May and June. It is another wild plant that colonises the bare ground as quarrying retreats; its flowers give off a scent that makes them attractive to moths.
White campion (Karen Howard)