Plants and Animals of the Wildflower Bank

cowslips
Cowslips

Plants of OP Wildflower Bank and the wildlife they can support

“Remember… plant diversity means insect diversity” 

Introduction

Over 97% of ancient wildflower meadows have been lost in the UK since the 1930s and the loss of these habitats has resulted in the decline in many of our pollinating insects.

Moth numbers have declined by over a third during the last 30 years and a major cause of this is loss of suitable habitat. This loss of moths and other invertebrates in turn has a negative effect on populations of other creatures such as bats and birds which eat moths and invertebrates.

Why Our Road Verge Wildflower Habitat is so Important

Find Out More from Plantlife

Join Plantlife’s Road Verge Campaign 

Declining flower diversity on our verges

Excerpt adapted from: Orchard Park Habitats Management Plan written by
The Wildlife Trust BCN

The verge in front of the primary school on Ring Fort Road consists of three sections of low bank which have each been sown with a wildflower and grass seed mix to benefit wildlife. In the wider countryside, swathes of natural grassland have been lost to agriculture, development and pasture. Within Orchard Park there are opportunities to help remediate against this loss and provide havens for wildlife. The species sown here were selected for their suitability to the locality and the food and shelter they provide invertebrates. These creatures will in turn be food for birds and small mammals and are key in supporting a healthy ecosystem. The gradual variation in slope provides slightly different microhabitats so more niches for species to exploit.  

At the time of this survey (25/06/14) the vegetation on the two banks in front of the school had been cut. From the cuttings that were left on the ground it was clear that some plants had still been flowering and were therefore of great value to insects. The third bank, at the southern end had not yet been cut and was buzzing with life. The flowers of the wild carrot, common knapweed, lady’s bedstraw, tufted vetch and common ragwort attracted many   insects such as butterflies, beetles, moths and bees. Within this short stretch of habitat, 20 meadow brown butterflies were observed alongside ringlets, small tortoiseshells and common blue damselflies….

All photos by OPWP unless otherwise credited.

Plants organised by flower colour

We have 8 of the 10 road verge species identified by Plantlife as supporting the highest numbers of invertebrates – these are the flowers with names highlighted in green in the flowering month chart, they are ranked, and the number of invertebrate species each plant supports is shown in brackets.

Daisy Bellis perennis

IMG_4214

The yellow centre of the oxeye daisy is made up of many small flowers which hold nectar, and are exploited by various pollinating insects, including butterflies, bees and hoverflies, in total up to 85 species can be supported.

Daisy

Oxeye Daisy Leucanthemum vulgare

Oxeye Daisy Leucanthemum vulgare David Nicholls
Photo credit: David Nicholls, NatureSpot

Can support up to 85 species of invertebrates.

Oxeye Daisy

Hedge Bedstraw Galium album

Hedge Bedstraw Galium album David Gould
Photo credit: David Gould, NatureSpot

In total can support 101 invertebrate species.

Hedge Bedstraw

White Clover Trifolium repens

IMG_4201

Trefoil leaves are collected by Wood Mice and are one of the foodplants of Common Blue Butterflies, while the flowers are sought after by all kinds of bumblebees. White Clover can support 98 species of invertebrates.

Vernacular names include Milky blobs, Sheepy-maa’s and Bee-bread. The latter name “Bee-bread” derives from the fact that the white flowers can be pulled out of the heads and sucked for a bead of honey.

White Clover

White Campion Silene latifolia [white flower]

IMG_4200

Unlike many wildflowers, the flowers of White Campion remain open as dusk descends, at which time they are slightly scented and attract moths such as the Noctuid, as pollinators.

White Camption

Hedge Bindweed Calystegia sepium

Hedge Bindweed Calystegia sepium Dave Neville
Photo credit: Dave Neville, NatureSpot
Hedge Bindweed

Yarrow Achillea millefolium

IMG_4180
IMG_4557

Flowers June to September being attractive to butterflies, bees and insects. Can support up to 141 species of invertebrates.

Yarrow

Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris

IMG_4213

Supports arthropod species.

Mugwort

Shepherd’s-purse Capsella bursa-pastoris

Shepherd's-purse Capsella bursa-pastoris Graham Calow
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot
Shepherd's purse

Wild Carrot Daucus carota

wild carrot daucus carota Graham Calow
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot
Wild Carrot

Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata [plant at the bottom right with long thin leaves and brush like flowerhead]

IMG_4212 (2)
IMG_4580

Flowers between April and October, but its seedheads remain for most of the winter providing food for Goldfinches and other seed-eating birds.

Ribwort plantain

Dandelion Taraxacum agg.

Dandelion Taraxacum agg. Graham Calow
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot

Can support up to 107 species of invertebrates.

Dandelion

Meadow Buttercup Ranunculus acris

Meadow Buttercup Ranunculus acris Graham Calow
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot
Meadow Buttercup

Black Medick Medicago lupulina

Black Medick Roger Darlington
Photo credit: Roger Darlington, http://wildflowerfinder.org.uk
Black Medic

Bristly Oxtongue Helminthotheca echioides [taller plant with yellow flowers]

IMG_4178

Its flowers attract pollinators from June to October

Bristly Oxtongue

Common Cat’s-ear Hypochaeris radicata

Common Cat's-ear Hypochaeris radicata Graham Calow
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot
Common Cat_s-ear

Common Ragwort Senecio jacobaea

IMG_4209

It is known that there are at least thirty species of invertebrates which are totally dependent on ragwort as a food source. There are many other species which require its nectar and pollen. In total 107 species of invertebrates might be supported. As a common plant which is a good nectar source it is often a major and important resource for many declining species including the Cinnabar Moth.

Common Ragwort

Charlock Sinapis arvensis

Charlock_2010_05_12_Chesterfield_CuckooWAy_KivertonPark_061p4
Photo credit: Roger Darlington, http://wildflowerfinder.org.uk
Charlock

Prickly Lettuce Lactuca serriola

Prickly Lettuce Lactuca serriola Graham Calow
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot
Prickly Lettuce

Smooth Hawk’s-beard Crepis capillaris [smaller yellow flowers below]

IMG_4178

Important pollen forage plant for solitary bees.

Smooth Hawk_s beard

Beaked Hawk’s beard Crepis vesicaria

Beaked Hawk's-beard Crepis vesicaria Graham Calow
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot
Beaked Hawk_s beard

Hop Trefoil Trifolium campestre

Hop Trefoil Trifolium campestre Graham Calow
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot
Hop trefoil

Lesser Trefoil Trifolium dubium [yellow flowers with three leaves]

Lesser Trefoil Trifolium dubium Denise Stretton
Photo credit: Denise Stretton, NatureSpot
Lesser Trefoil

Cowslip Primula veris

cowslips

It’s nectar is good for bees and early butterflies including the brimstone. Cowslip is also the food plant of the rare Duke of Burgundy fritillary. Other insects benefit, including pollen beetles. For more information see: https://opwildlife.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/cowslips/

Cowslip

Lady’s Bedstraw Galium verum

IMG_4203

Lady’s bedstraw is thought to be so-called because its dried flowers were traditionally used for stuffing straw mattresses, often for pregnant women, as the coumarin scent kills fleas and the plant was thought to aid a safe delivery. It provides a rich source of nectar for pollinating insects such as bumble bees and butterflies. It also provides food for caterpillars. In total 101 species can be supported.

Lady_s Bedstraw

Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus

IMG_4217

Flowers from May to October and is mainly pollinated by bees and is the larval food plant for a number of moth species including both six and five spot burnet, and of the common blue butterfly. Can support up to 160 species of invertebrates.

Bird_s-foot Trefoil

Hedge Mustard Sisymbrium officinale

Hedge Mustard Sisymbrium officinale Graham Calow
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot
Hedge Mustard

Common Knapweed Centaurea nigra  

and Greater Knapweed Centaurea scabiosa

IMG_4189

Favourite of all kinds of butterflies including Common Blues, and Meadow Browns. Wild flowers also provide nesting sites, larval food, forage and shelter. Good nectar and pollen provider for a variety of other insects, including bees, beetles and flies; once the common knapweed has been pollinated it will attract birds, such as goldfinches, that feed on its seeds. It will also attract other small birds that want to feed on the bugs taking nectar from the flower head.

Greater Knapweed
Common Knapweed

Chicory Cichorium intybus

Chicory_Roger Darlington
Photo credit: Roger Darlington, http://wildflowerfinder.org.uk
Chicory

Common Vetch Vicia sativa

Vetch(NarrowLeaved)[ViciaSativaSSPnigra] Roger Darlington
Photo credit: Roger Darlington, http://wildflowerfinder.org.uk
Common Vetch

Tufted Vetch Vicia cracca

IMG_4179 (1)
IMG_4544

The bright purple flowers are often heavy with pollen so they attract bees of different species, and it is also beneficial to the soil because as a legume, it is a nitrogen fixer. Great for long-tongued bumblebees, like the Garden Bumblebee.

Tufted vetch

Smooth Tare Vicia tetrasperma

Smooth Tare Vicia tetrasperma HAPeacock
Photo credit: HAPeacock, NatureSpot
Smooth tare

Common Field-speedwell Veronica persica

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Flowers throughout the year and is self-fertile. The flowers are visited by insects but are often self-pollinated.

Common Field-speedwell

Red Clover Trifolium pratense

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A disproportionate loss of long flowering bee forage plants like Red Clover may be an important factor in bee decline; having long, deep flower tubes (corollae), they can only be accessed by insects with long tongues, such as butterflies and long-tongued bees. Can support up to 115 species of invertebrates.

Red Clover

Cut-leaved Crane’s-bill Geranium dissectum

Cut-leaved Crane's-bill Geranium dissectum Graham Calow
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot
Cut-leaved Crane's bill

Betony Betonica officinalis

Betony Betonica officinalis Backwater Botanics
Photo credit: Backwater Botanics
Betony

Teasel Dipsacus fullonum

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Visited by bees when in flower, and birds, particularly Goldfinch when seeding.

Teasel

Salad Burnet Poterium sanguisorba

Salad Burnet Poterium sanguisorba Graham Calow
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot
Salad burnet

Creeping Thistle Cirsium arvense

Thistle(Creeping)_Roger Darlington
Photo credit: Roger Darlington, http://wildflowerfinder.org.uk
Creeping Thistle

Common Poppy Papaver rhoeas

Poppy Common Roger Darlington
Photo credit: Roger Darlington, http://wildflowerfinder.org.uk
Field poppy

Broad-leaved Dock Rumex obtusifolius

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Broad leaved Dock

Common Sorrel Rumex acetosa

Sorrel(Common)Roger Darlington
Photo credit: Roger Darlington, http://wildflowerfinder.org.uk
Common Sorrel

Curled Dock Rumex crispus

Curled_Dock_(Rumex_crispus) Jozefsu
Photo credit: Jozefsu

Curled dock

Grasses

Perennial Rye-grass Lolium perenne

Perennial Rye-grass Lolium perenne David Nicholls
Photo credit: David Nicholls, NatureSpot

Red Fescue Festuca rubra ssp.rubra

Red Fescue Festuca rubra ssp. rubra Graham Calow
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot

Smaller Cat’s-tail Phleum bertolonii

Smaller Cat's-tail Phleum bertolonii HAPeacock
Photo credit: HAPeacock, NatureSpot

Black Bent grass Agrostis gigantea

Bent, Black (Agrostis gigantea) Harecroft Crescent Sapcote SP 4903 9371 (taken 20th July 2008) NatureSpot.
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot

Cock’s-foot Dactylis glomerata

Cock's-foot Dactylis glomerata Thayne Tuason
Photo credit: Thayne Tuason

Crested Dog’s-tail Cynosurus cristatus

Crested Dog's-tail Cynosurus cristatus David Nicholls
Photo credit: David Nicholls, NatureSpot

Yorkshire-fog Holcus lanatus

Yorkshire-fog Holcus lanatus Graham Calow
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot

Barren Brome Anisantha sterilis

Anisantha tectorum (Zwenkdravik)
Photo credit: Bas Kers

Smooth Meadow-grass Poa pratensis

Smooth Meadow-grass Poa pratensis Graham Calow
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot

Soft-brome Bromus hordeaceus

Soft-brome Bromus hordeaceus David Nicholls
Photo credit: David Nicholls, NatureSpot

Invertebrates organised by taxonomic group

Dragonflies

Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum

Damselflies

Common Blue Damselfy Enallagma cyathigerum

CommonBlueDamsel David Nicholls
Photo credit: David Nicholls, NatureSpot

Flying months:

Common blue damselfly grab

Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella

Photo credit: David Nichols, NatureSpot

Grasshoppers & bush-crickets

Meadow Grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus

For more information see: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/invertebrates/grasshoppers-and-crickets/meadow-grasshopper

Meadow Grasshopper_Orchard Park_18 June 18
Photo credit: Carol Inskipp. Meadow Grasshopper

Bugs

Meadow Plant Bug Leptopterna dolabrata

For more information see: https://www.britishbugs.org.uk/heteroptera/Miridae/leptopterna_dolabrata.html

Meadow Plant Bug Leptopterna dolabrata_Orchard Park_18 June 18
Photo credit: Carol Inskipp

Swollen-thighed Flower Beetle Oedemera nobilis

Rove Beetle Staphylinidae sp.

Not identified to species, no picture available.

Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina

Miridae Stenotus binotatus

Adults fly June-September

Photo credit: Graham Calow, Naturespot

Froghopper sp.

For more information see: https://opwildlife.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/cuckoo-spit/

Froghopper sp._Orchard Park_18 June 18 copy
Photo credit: Carol Inskipp

Aphid 

aphid Graham Calow
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot

Hoverflies

Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus

Photo credit: Carol Inskipp

Hoverfly Eupeodes sp.

Photo credit: Carol Inskipp

Long Hoverfly Sphaerophoria scripta

Photo credit: Carol Inskipp

Pied Hoverfly Scaeva pyrastri

Photo credit: Carol Inskipp

Hoverfly Syrphus ribesii

Photo credit: David Nicholls, NatureSpot

Beetles

Common Pollen Beetle Meligethes aeneus

common pollen beetle Meligethes aeneus Graham Calow
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis

For more information see: http://www.harlequin-survey.org

HarlequinLadybird_David Nicholls
Photo credit: David Nicholls, NatureSpot
Harlequin Ladybird larva2_Orchard Park_18 June 18
Photo credit: Carol Inskipp. Harlequin Ladybird Larva

Flower Beetle Oedemera lurida

For more information see: https://www.buglife.org.uk/bugs-and-habitats/thick-legged-flower-beetle

a Flower Beetle Oedenera lurida _Orchard Park_18 June 18
Photo credit: Carol Inskipp

Butterflies and Moths

Meadow Brown  Maniola jurtina

Meadow Brown Hugh J Griffiths
Photo credit: Hugh J Griffiths

Adult flies:

meadow brown

Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae

Small tortoiseshell Aglais urticae Kate Nightingale
Photo credit: Kate Nightingale, NatureSpot

Adult flies:

Small tortoiseshell

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui

Ringlet Butterfly Aphantopus hyperantus

Ringlet Butterfly (Aphantopus hyperantus)Graham Calow (Female) Old Fosse Sapcote SP 5018 9270 (taken 23.6.2008)
Photo credit: Graham Calow,  NatureSpot

Adult flies:

Ringlet

Common Blue Butterfly Polyommatus icarus

common blue butterfly Polyommatus icarus David Nicholls
Photo credit: David Nicholls, NatureSpot

Adults fly:

Common Blue butterfly

Small White Butterfly Pieris rapae

For more information see: https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/species.php?species=rapae

IMG_4496

Cinnabar Moth Tyria jacobaeae

For more information see: https://butterfly-conservation.org/11908-1319/cinnabar.html

Cinnabar Moth_Orchard Park_18 June 18
Photo credit: Carol Inskipp. Cinnabar Moth Tyria jacobaeae

Adult flies:

Cinnabar

Common Yellow Conch Moth Agapeta hamana

Common Yellow Conch Agapeta hamana Graham Calow
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot

Garden Grass Veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella

For more information see:  https://www.ukmoths.org.uk/species/chrysoteuchia-culmella 

Garden Grass Veneer_Chrysotechia culmella_Orchard Park+18 June 18
Photo credit: Carol Inskipp

Yellow Satin Moth Crambus perlella

Yellow Satin Crambus perlella Graham Calow
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot

Twin-barred Knot-horn Homeosoma sinuella

Photo credit: Carol Inskipp

Small Black Ant Lasius niger

Small Black Ant Lasius niger David Nicholls
Photo credit: David Nicholls, NatureSpot

Large Red-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lapidarius

Large Red-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lapidarius Graham Calow
Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot

Common Carder Bumblebee Bombus pascuorum

Common Carder Bumblebee Bombus pascuorum Barbara Cooper
Photo credit: Barbara Cooper, NatureSpot

White-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lucorum

White-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lucorum HAPeacock
Photo credit: HAPeacock, NatureSpot

Photo credit: Graham Calow, NatureSpot

Garden Spider Araneus diadematus

For more information see: http://britishspiders.org.uk/wiki2015/index.php?title=Araneus_diadematus

Garden Spider Araneus diadematus_Orchard Park_18 June 18
Photo credit: Carol Inskipp

Full text with references for all information can be found at: Summary Flowers 2 with wildlife benefit with references