Wild Flowers that grow in Britain can look a little different abroad

People have asked me if our native wild flowers can also be found growing abroad and the answer is yes, very few are restricted to Britain, however it is interesting to observe their change in appearance, especially changes in leaf shapes, sometimes subtle and other times very apparent. If we want to get rather academic we could suggest they are sub-species however it may be the result in adaptation to their environment (soil, climate, predators etc).

Below are photos of Common Centaury (Centaurium erythraea), the first one is taken in England and the second one in Skiathos, Greece.

The Greek version above was generally more robust, larger, and with darker green leaves and had stronger coloured flowers which were larger and the petals were longer and more star shaped.

Common Centaury is an annual or biennial wild flower frequenting acidic or calcareous soils, usually they avoid the heavier wetter soils. It is found in a wide range of habitats including heathland, grasslands, open scrub, road verges, dune grasslands and also sometimes in gardens where the soil has been disturbed or ground vegetation is sparse. You can purchase it’s seed from British plants on the individual species page of my website which you can view by clicking here.

However some wild flowers abroad may look rather like one of our British species at first glance but are in fact a totally different species. For instance take a look at this photo beneath, taken in Skiathos, Greece, which could at first glance, by the flower, be taken for our Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra) but on closer inspection it has a much spikier looking flower head and leaves and is in fact Boar Thistle (Galactites tomentosa), which likes sunny dry places on well-drained soils and can be found on open barren hillsides, waste places, dry pastures and roadsides. Varieties of Boar Thistle can be seen planted in flower beds in the UK, having been made available in garden centres.

Above is Boar Thistle (Galactites tomentosa) and below is our Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra)