The barely noticeable cross shaped white flowers and nettle-shaped leaves of Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) or Hedge garlic on the road verge do not command the attention of most passers-by. Nonetheless, this is an extremely important plant for the caterpillars of the Orange tip (Anthocharis cardamines) butterfly. In May these eat the pods and seeds.
People often confuse the blossoms of Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) and Whitethorn (Crataegus monoygyna). This is a good time to differentiate between them. Blackthorns have been blossoming on bare black twigs since March; Hawthorns are just showing the buds of their brilliant white blossoms and these will bloom on fully leafed twigs in May and June lighting up the countryside. Blackthorn blossoms will become purple sloes in the autumn; hawthorn blossoms will become red haws.
Bush vetch (Vicia sepium) has arrived on nature’s stage to play its part. The nectar and pollen in its light purple flowers are gathered by bumblebees. Tendrils at the tips of the stems enable it to climb on other plant.