Yellow days

It is often said that early spring flowers are mostly yellow and there is some truth in this, at Blashford Lakes just now it is certainly the most frequent flower colour.

Although not usually actually the “Prime rose” or first flower the primrose is undoubtedly yellow. 

I am not entirely sure that they are native at Blashford, or at least if they were I suspect they were eradicated by the gravel workings and these are the result of plantings, however they do well and are spreading.

By contrast the wild daffodils are genuinely wild, they grow only where the original woodland ground surface remains, although they are also slowly spreading onto ground that was disturbed.

The surrounding area has quite a good population of wild daffodils, although they do show signs of hybridising near to the larger plantings of garden cultivars. For this reason we have removed just about all the cultivated varieties from the reserve, although we still manage to find a few hidden away somewhere every year.

One of the more important early nectar sources for insects is the lesser celandine, these are so reflectively yellow that they are difficult to photograph. They have  a dish-shaped flower which reflects the sun into the centre heating it up. The flowers also reflect ultraviolet light very strongly, especially around the flower centre, making them very attractive to bees and hoverflies which see these wavelengths very well.

Another very attractive flower to insects is willow, the catkins are also yellow, although this is because of the abundant pollen, which is also the main prize for many of the insects that visit.

These are the male flowers and the trees are single sexed, so only about half have the “Pussy willow” flowers.

Although both sexes produce nectar the male trees are especially valuable for bees as they need pollen as a food source in the spring, apparently this stimulates the queens to lay eggs.

Other yellow flowers include gorse, flowering now, although peaking usually in May and famously never not in flower hence the saying that “When gorse is out of bloom, kissing is out of season”.

In the alder carr the opposite-leaved golden saxifrage is now flowering, the flowers are not large or very obvious, but they continue the yellow theme.

This plant only colonised Blashford Lakes in the last ten years, I think carried down the Dockens Water, possibly from our reserve at Linwood where it is very common.