Ring A Ringlet

Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus

It’s very rare I get to see this butterfly with its wings fully open, but with all those beautiful rings seen on the undersides, I am more than appreciative to see them.

Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus

Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus), local field, Staffordshire, England. June 2017.


Dandelion Taraxacum officinale

I love to see the fields covered for as far as the eye can see in these golden yellow flowers. And of course, when they go to seed they also have there own beauty and fascination.

Dandelion Taraxacum officinale

These bright yellow Dandelion heads are made up of around two-hundred rayed florets. The stems are hollow, and exude a milky white substance if broken. The leaves have backward facing toothed lobes. The fluffy rounded seed heads are famed when blown by mouth or the wind, forming a small cloud of individual parachuted seeds.

Dandelion Taraxacum officinale seedhead

It flowers March to October, and form a swathe of radiant yellow during spring. Found in varied locations, including meadows, hedgerows, verges, open woodland, parks and gardens. A common and widespread species.

Taken local field, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2010, 2012, and 2016.

Creeping Thistle

Cirsium arvense

Creeping Thistle Cirsium arvense

This is a herbaceous perennial plant which forms extensive clonal colonies from an underground root system which sprout numerous erect stems each spring. It is an aggressive plant, and can cover large areas forming large dense colonies. The stems are hairy, but unlike many other thistles, they have no spines or wings. It has narrow-toothed, spiny leaves. The abundant flowers are pink, reddish-pink, or lilac. The flowers produce prodigious quantities of feathery yellow-brown seeds.

Creeping Thistle Cirsium arvense

It flowers July to September, and it is ubiquitous throughout the British Isles, from wasteland, roadside verges, grasslands and gardens. Common and widespread throughout.

Creeping Thistle Cirsium arvense seedheads

Creeping Thistle Cirsium arvense leaf

The seeds of the Creeping Thistle are an important food source for birds, and other parts of the plant are also a good energy source for many species of insect.

Creeping Thistle Cirsium arvense

July 2011, local field, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2011.

Red Clover II

Red Clover Trifolium pratense

Red Clover Trifolium pratense

Red Clover Trifolium pratense

Red Clover Trifolium pratense

For more information on this beuatiful plant please se my previous Red Clover page.

July 2011, local field, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2011.

White Clover

Trifolium repens

White Clover Trifolium repens flower

Also called ‘Dutch Clover’, it is a herbaceous perennial plant which spreads by means of rooting runners. The leaves are composed of three oval leaflets which have a whitish V-shaped band, which may not always be evident. The ball-shaped cluster flower head is composed of rounded peaflowers which are white or cream, with the lower flowers drooping down below and fanning out slightly.

White Clover Trifolium repens

It flowers June to September. Found in pastures, roadside verges, meadows, garden lawns and other grassy habitats. Abundant and widespread throughout.

White Clover Trifolium repens leaf

White Clover is an important source of pollen for bees, butterflies and other insects.

June 2012, local field, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2012.


Field Maple

Acer campestre

Field Maple Acer campestre

You know when I first came across this tree over twenty years ago on a local field boundary, I am embarrassed to say I did not know what kind of tree it was. I always liked its form, and it make a good perch for passing birds to rest on.

Also called ‘Common Maple’ or ‘English Maple’, this is a medium-sized deciduous tree which can be fairly variable in shape. It can be either broadly domed or narrow with a high dome. It can grow up to a height of 25m (82ft). The bark is grey-brown and fissured. The fairly small dark green leaves are 3-5 lobed, the top lobe being pointed and the bottom pair being smaller. Freshly open leaves have a pinkish tinge to them which eventually turn green. In autumn they can be quite a spectacle as they turn bright yellow then a reddish-brown colour. Male and female flowers occur together with the leaves in April to May and are yellowish-green. The winged fruits are in bunches of 4, with the wings horizontal, light green and stained crimson. These wings allow the seeds to be carried far from the parent plant by the wind.

Field Maple Acer campestre

Found in woods, hedgerows and open fields. This is Britain’s only native species of maple, and it is common as a wayside tree and hedgerow shrub in England and Wales. It is  scarcer further north.

Field Maple Acer campestre leaf

The Field Maple is an important food source to many insects, birds and mammals.

Field Maple Acer campestre trunk

September 2010 and August 2013, local field boundary, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2010 and 2013.

Common Toadflax

Linaria vulgaris

Common Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)

I remember when I first came across this most stunningly beautiful flower when on one of my local walks. It was late afternoon and I was returning home across a field when this vibrant yellow flower caught my eye. I was immediately taken by the colours and form of the blossoms.

Common Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)

This bright lemon-yellow flower is composed of tufted spikes, each individual flower made-up of two closed lips, the lower with two orangey bosses and a spur which points downwards. The green, narrow leaves grow spirally up the stem.

Common Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)

It flowers late into the autumn giving a bright flush of colour, from July to October. Pollination usually requires strong insects such as bees and bumblebees to open the closed flower lips.

Usually found in clumps in meadows, roadsides, embankments, and other open grassy habitats. Common and widespread throughout.

October 2011, local field, Staffordshire. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38. © Pete Hillman 2011.

Frozen Burdock

Frozen Burdock Seedhead

Please click on images for full definition.

Photographs of Lesser Burdock (Arctium minus) seedhead, taken December 2016, local field margin, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 18-55mm lens.

Red Clover

Trifolium pratense

Red Clover is a herbaceous perennial which has rounded pink to red flower heads which have a leaf directly below them. The leaves are formed of three oval leaflets, often with a whitish V-shaped band.

It flowers May to September, and it is found in meadows, pastures, rough grassland, wasteland and verges. A native species, and abundant and widespread throughout.

This is an important pollinator for bees and other insects. It is also extensively grown for pastureland as a forage crop for livestock.

Field of Gold

Even with dull, slate-grey skies you can usually find something out and about whilst walking that brightens the day. This is a field filled with Rape (Brassica napus), and the shoots on the trees were just opening up fresh and green.

Photograph taken May 2014, local field, Staffordshire.