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NatureSpot Wildlife Guide
Groby, Ratby Road Verge

This verge, next to the entrance to the Brookvale Groby Campus, is a great example of the wildlife that appears once mowing stops. Here are a few of the species seen here. To find out more about the project and to see a full list of all the wildlife recorded on the site, visit the feature Wild Place page for the verge on NatureSpot. Click on any header to visit the NatureSpot page for that species to find out more.

Photo of Germander Speedwell

Germander Speedwell

A beautiful early summer flower and an indicator of quality meadow grassland.

How to ID: Typically grows to 20cm. Bright blue flowers with white centres, held above the leaves. Leaves stalkless.

Where to see it: Meadows, verges, woodland edges

Similar species: Other Speedwells, but only Germander Speedwell has an upright flower spike with this colour.

Photo of Cat's-ear

Cat's-ear

Though flowering June-September, the leaves help to identify this plant at any time of year. Common on verges and in short grassland.

ID: Basal rosette of wavy-edged, pimply and hairy leaves. Yellow dandelion-like flowers on branched stalks.

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Photo of Lords-and-Ladies

Lords-and-Ladies

Also called Cuckoo Pint, this strange plant produces leaves in early Spring then a single blade-like white flower in April/May. It traps small flies overnight to ensure they get covered in pollen, then releases them in the morning.

How to ID: Large, glossy, arrow-shaped leaves. Large white flower is unmistakeable. Only a stick of red berries is visible by Autumn.

Where to see it: Woodlands, hedgerows, shady places.

Similar species: Italian Lords and Ladies (has marbled leaves)

Photo of Oxeye Daisy

Oxeye Daisy

Swathes of this flower can turn verges into a white haze, swaying in the breeze. Commonly included in wildflower seed mixes, it is attractive to butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Seen in this image being visited by Gatekeeper butterflies.

How to ID: Typically grows to 60cm, flowering May-September. White petals with a yellow centre.

Where to see it: Verges, established meadows.

Similar species: Very occasionally, Shasta Daisy escapes from garden and looks similar.

Photo of Meadow Buttercup

Meadow Buttercup

The 'classic' meadow buttercup, growing to around 60cm.

How to ID: Typical yellow buttercup flower. Leaves are deeply divided and resemble large green snowflakes!

Where to see it: Established meadows.

Similar species: Creeping Buttercup (3 leaflets in a triangle) and Bulbous Buttercup (downward pointing sepals under the petals).

Photo of Hogweed

Hogweed

The large, white flower platforms provide one of the best food sources for pollinators, bringing a great opportunity to view visiting insects such as bees, beetles and hoverflies.

How to ID: Up to 2m tall. Flower 'umbels' to 20cm. Unique leaf shape.

Where to see it: Verges, hedges, rough ground - likes nutrient-rich soil.

Similar species: Giant Hogweed is similar but much larger (and quite rare).

Photo of Common Carder Bumblebee

Common Carder Bumblebee

This common bumblebee nests in small colonies, usually underground. The furry, orange workers collect pollen and nectar to feed their larvae. The hairy bodies of bumblebees helps to keep them warm and enables them to fly and forage in cool weather.

How to ID: Orange hairs all over (though those on the abdomen wear off exposing the black beneath).

Where to see it: Visiting flowers. Its long tongue allows it to reach into trumpet-shaped blooms that other insects can't reach.

Similar species: The Tree Bumblebee also has orange hairs but has a distinctive white 'tail'.

Photo of 22 Spot Ladybird

22 Spot Ladybird

A small ladybird but with the brightest yellow base colour. Unlike many ladybirds, this species is vegetarian, feeding on mildews.

How to ID: Yellow, always with 22 spots.

Where to see it: On flowers and sometimes in trees and shrubs.

Similar species: The 16 Spot Ladybird is straw-coloured and not bright yellow.

Photo of Swollen-thighed Beetle

Swollen-thighed Beetle

This lovely beetle has become increasingly common and is often seen feeding on a wide range of flowers. The 'Chris Hoy' of the beetle world.

How to ID: 8-10mm. Metallic, shiny green. Males with hugely inflated back legs.

Where to see it: Visiting flowers, particularly Hogweed and Yarrow.

Similar species: Odemera livida is found in similar places but is smaller (6mm) and is a dull, not shiny, green.

Photo of Yellow Meadow Ant

Yellow Meadow Ant

This attractive ant is a meadow specialist. Its nests look like over-sized mole mills but keep growing year after year, often covered in grasses. They are usually found in undisturbed grassland so their presence is often an indicator of quality habitat.

How to ID: Yellow-brown. Usually several nest mounds together.

Where to see it: Meadows, verges, permanent pasture fields.

Similar species: A few other ants are also yellow but these are rarely encountered in our area.

Guide last updated in June 2023.