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Ancient meadows

An authentic meadow is an integral part of any ancient woodland as the ground is a natural living environment to many insects, reptiles and small mammals. The meadow and ground give an overall picture of woodland, so it is necessary to replant many kinds of herbs and flowers in order to restore the whole woodland. There few kinds of flowers that are the most common to the English woodlands and we should prioritize the following species of flowers in any woodland restoration project.

Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis)

There is no doubt that lilies-of-the-valley are the flowers that first come to everyone’s mind if we are talking about woods in a romantic and magical context. These charming, little, white and sweetly scented flowers are mentioned in many fairytales and beautiful love stories. Lily-of-the-valley is an ancient-woodland-indicator plant, so if you find these flowers in a wood, it could be a sign you’re standing in a rare and special habitat.

These flowers have white and bell-shaped blossoms that are smells very nice. Their leaves are oval, with an untoothed leaf edge. Lilies-of-the-valley have bright red seeds that are highly poisonous, so be careful to not eat or collect them by hand. Lily-of-the-valley is usually found in dry woodlands with chalky or limestone soil. Lily-of-the-valley can be used to treat heart problems in traditional medicine. They are used in the perfume industry and mass production of scented candles or other home scents.

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

Every movie about good fairies or other magical stories set in a forest is distinguished by the fields of little blue flowers. The violet glow of a bluebell wood is an incredible wildflower spectacle and even adults start to believe in fairies when enjoying the sea of bluebells. 

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

Bluebells are light blue or violet and bell-shaped little flowers. Sometimes these flowers can have white or light pink blossoms too. They came from underground bulbs and bloom in April. These sweet-smelling flowers nod or droop to one side of the flowering stem and have up to 20 flowers can grow on one inflorescence. Their leaves are narrow, strap-shaped, smooth and hairless. Lilies-of-the-valley are associated with ancient woodland as thousands of bulbs can exist in one woodland, creating the incredibly blue sea in the middle of spring. They also grow along fields and forests.

Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa)

Little, white, fragile and star-shaped wood anemone is one of the first spring flowers and makes a nice white carpet in the forests after long months of snow. Wood anemone is an ancient-woodland-indicator plant too as the environment of woodland perfectly suits their slow growth. The leaves are basal, each leaf displays three visible lobes and the stalks are long. Usually, anemones are white, but you can spot yellow or light pink blossoms as well.

The flower has no honey and little scent, the anemone is bitter to the tongue and poisonous. These flowers are used to make a vinegar in France. Various parts of the plant can be used in tonics or teas to treat the headaches, tertian agues, and rheumatic gout.