Submitted by AJ Cann on Mon, 13/03/2017 - 13:52

With spring around the corner we can expect better weather  - but wait, is that road verge coated with snow? Let's hope not! What is that froth of tiny white flowers along the edge of the road? NatureSpot News is here to help. 
Read more 

A common flower at this time of the year is Hairy Bitter-cress (Cardamine hirsuta). Related to the prettier cuckoo flower (Cardamine pratense), Hairy Bittercress is a drabber plant with relatively insignificant small groups of white flowers 10 to 20 cm tall and a basal rosette of pinnate leaves, hairy on the tops (the stems are hairless). But this is possibly not the most likely candidate for vegetable snow, so ...

Common Whitlowgrass (Erophila verna) is a low growing, slightly hairy plant with toothed leaves in a basal rosette covered in sparse hairs. The flowers are white, 3-5 mm across with the petals deeply cleft. The elliptical seed capsule is quite recognisable. Sometimes this plant can form quite dense white carpets, but perhaps the most likely candidate for fake roadside snow is ...

Danish Scurvygrass (Cochlearia danica). We don't have many seaside plants in VC55 but this is one of them. In the last few decades it has spread increasingly along road verges where the competition has been killed off by applications of salt in winter. Seen close up, this is a very attractive miniature white flower with a lilac flush, so it's worth finding a safe place to stop and taking a closer look. And then please send us your records of these spring gems so we can record how the flora of our county is changing along our roadsides. 

AJC