If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

04 March, 2014

Lesser Celandine: reflections of spring sunshine

You can find small numbers of lesser celandines (Ranunculus ficaria) in flower in sheltered spots from Christmas onwards but it is in March that they begin to appear in greater profusion in the Dorset countryside. By the begining of April there will be carpets of them on banks, in woodlands, along hedgerows, on river sides, in fact all over the place. Their bright, cheery faces glow and glisten in the spring sunlight and are they another reminder of the transformations
that occurs before our very eyes every spring, something we must surely all look forward to?
The lesser celandine is a member of the buttercup family, ranunculacae. It certainly has the golden colouring we associate with buttercups but the petals are more narrow and pointed making an almost eight-pointed star shaped flower whereas other buttercups tend to have five petals flattened or rounded ends so there is little chance of confusion.
There is a greater celandine which is not a ranunculus, it is a member of the crucifereae (cabbage) family and looks nothing like the the lesser! That just goes to show why we use Latin names for precision in identification and not common English country names which can often be very confusing.