Turning over a new leaf

When you glimpse a bluebell what do you see?  What catches your eye when you spy a daisy?  What tells you that a buttercup is a buttercup?  The flowers of these species are striking in appearance for different reasons depending on the observer.  The vibrant blue/purple of the English bluebell heralds longer days ahead.  Daisies typically appear dainty within a mown lawn and signal summertime has arrived.  The buttercup flower shines with a glossy appearance in strong sunlight.  But have you ever noticed these plants when the flowers aren’t present?

The flowers are the reproductive units of the wildflowers mentioned and the colours help in attracting pollinating insects.  However, there is much more to a wildflower than its flower.  A walk through any woodland or park at this time of year reveals a huge diversity of leaves.  Descriptive words such as toothed, pinnate, lobed, and palmate are used by botanists to describe the appearance of plants and their foliage.  Compare leaves through form, shape, and texture and I’m sure you’ll be amazed at their own beauty without the need for a flower to be present.