Spring is here and the flowers are in bloom, they are incredibly important for nature and they make the world a brighter, more colourful place to be. We’re celebrating wildflowers this week, learning all about how they work and why they are wonderful for wildlife!
Wildflowers or weeds?
Some garden flowers, like roses and dahlias, look very pretty but they aren’t very helpful for wildlife, while so-called ‘weeds’ like dandelions, buttercups and daisies are actually ‘wildflowers’ and they are super important for wildlife, here’s why…
Here are five facts why wildflowers are fantastic:
- Wildflowers are colourful and attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies which help it to reproduce, and make more plants and flowers.
- Wildflowers make nectar, which is food for many butterflies, bees, insects, bats and birds.
- Parts of wildflowers such as dandelions, chamomile, wild garlic and lavender are edible and can be used to make teas, or used as herbs and spices in our food.
- Wildflowers are also food for mammals such as deer and rabbits.
- Many wildflowers have medicinal uses, honeysuckle can be used to treat sore throats.
As well as being beautiful, flowers have the important job of creating seeds. Just about all fruits and vegetables come from seeds. Flowers are made up of several parts. All these flower parts each have a specific function, kind of like a super power, that allows the flower to bloom and then eventually become fruit or seed. Watch this short video from BBC Learning about the parts of a flower:
A good way to learn about the reproductive parts of a plant is by dissecting a flower. Daffodils, tulips, lilies, irises, or any flower with large parts work well for this activity. Use flowers from your garden or pick one when you go out for a walk. You will need an adult to help you, a pair of scissors or sharp knife to cut through the flower parts, and if you have one, a magnifying glass to help you see pollen and other small parts of the flower up close. When you are ready, follow the instructions on our ‘Flower Detectives’ activity sheet.
We’re going on a wildflower hunt! Now that we know how flowers work, let’s see how many different types of wildflowers we can find where you live! Download or print out this May wildflower spotter sheet and see what you can find in your garden or next time you go for a walk.
- Follow these instructions to make wildflower seed bombs.
- Have a go at pressing wildflowers which you can then keep in your nature journal or make art with. Here’s a short video from the Natural History Museum to show you how
- Get creative with flowers and make a painting using different colours, shapes and sizes: