Skip To Content
    This post has not been vetted or endorsed by BuzzFeed's editorial staff. BuzzFeed Community is a place where anyone can create a post or quiz. Try making your own!
    Updated on May 11, 2020. Posted on Apr 16, 2020

    The Big Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Coombe Bissett Nature Reserve Plant Quiz

    Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Plant Quiz, to help learn the plants of Coombe Bissett Down nature reserve. This species identification training aid has been funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of a three year community engagement project. You can learn all about this remarkable Wiltshire Wildlife Trust reserve and the plants in it here. We'd like to thank everyone who provided the images for the quiz, who are credited in the training booklet. So here’s 40 plants you’ll find at the reserve, and on other chalk grasslands. Can you name them all?

    1. A commonly encountered sedge on the chalk - but can you ID it from leaves only?

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Glaucous Sedge (Carex flacca)

      Unique in having slightly greyer under-leaves. Carnation Sedge does look a bit similar, but only occurs in bogs and wet heaths (and is equally grey on both sides of the leaf). In late summer Glaucous Sedge has very visible black seed heads.

    2. A delicate blue bloom

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)

    3. There's not many members of the carrot family that grown on chalk grassland. Here's one...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Wild Carrot (Daucus carota)

      While not limited to chalk grassland it is often found there. most easily recognised in the hand with its rough hairiness. The flowers also do a cool thing where the central floret is often deep crimson, acting as in insect lure.

    4. Can you do this one just using a leaf?

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

      A bit tricky with just a leaf, but it's a good one to be able to do vegetatively. The key is in the hairs on the leaf, but on the underside and margins. White Clover has no hairs. Also don't be misled by the white arrows - loads of clovers have those...

    5. What's this tall daisy?

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)

    6. Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Salad Burnet (Sanguisorba minor)

      So, that was a predominantly male flowerhead, with dangling red stamens. Here is the very wonderful female flowers, with deep red tentacled flowers. Sometimes you get inflorescences with both on...

    7. Here's one of the many orchids you might encounter

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis)

      Fairly consistently pink-purple flowers and the pyramid shape to the flowerhead help pin this one down.

    8. Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Lady's Bedstraw (Galium verum)

      A real specialist on the chalk, it can be easily recognised when not in flower with its needle-like leaves

    9. Another specialist of chalk...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Upright Brome (Bromopsis erecta)

      Very common and sometimes over-abundant in grasslands where the grazing pressure is too low. Look for tall nodding heads, and if you pluck a leaf from the base you'll see 'camel's eyelashes' along the margin, which is unique to this species.

    10. This one is a chalk specialist, and is a bit harder to identify

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Burnet-saxifrage (Pimpinella saxifraga)

      Well done if you get this one! The main difficulty with this plant is the leaf variation, with the basal ones looking very like Salad Burnet (presumably where the name comes from) and the top ones looking totally different, more like fennel. But once you've learnt it it becomes quite easy to spot!

    11. Peas!

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

      Nice and easy, with the terminal leaflets forming clover-like trefoils, and the largest flowers eventually forming pods resembling a bird's claws.

    12. If you don't live in Wiltshire you may have never been lucky enough to see this sedge, as our county is pretty much the stronghold for it!

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Dwarf Sedge (Carex humilis)

      With its very fine leaves this barely looks like a sedge at all - but if you look at the leaf bases you will see them join up in threes to form that familiar sedgy base. This one is a real chalk grassland indicator, and only thrives on well-managed sites.

    13. The best of all the grasses!

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Quaking Grass (Briza media)

      A mirage of dancing sugar-puffs in a summer breeze!

    14. This one can be mistaken for an orchid when it's in full bloom

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Hoary Plantain (Plantago media)

      In midsummer the pinky-white flowers of this plantain are enough to stop you in your tracks!

    15. This orchid can be found in a wide range of habitats, and can be easily recognised from the patterning on the leaves

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii)

      One of a small group of orchids with spotted leaves, on this one the spots go across the leaves (in Early Purple Orchid they run end to end)

    16. How about this stunner?

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Greater Knapweed (Centaurea scabiosa)

      Note the extra border of frilly ray florets

    17. Very hard when not in flower, pretty straightforward when it is...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Crested Dog's-tail (Cynosurus cristatus)

      This one is a bit twisty, but you can clearly see one side has a back, and the other a crest. Also if you flick it it wags like a dog's tail

    18. A plant that pops up in many places!

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris)

    19. Another gem!

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra)

      Couple of things to look for - the inflorescence is reactively tidy, with lovely black bracts looking like mites crawling up the flower. Also the leaves have minute prickles on the margins, which helps to separate it from the scabious species. Boom!

    20. Another pea family member

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Horseshoe Vetch (Hippocrepis comosa)

      The leaves on this are more regularly pinnate, and lack the terminal trefoil. It has smaller, but more numerous flowers, sometimes in a horseshoe crescent and sometimes in a circle. And check out these crazy pods, also in chains of horseshoes. It's also the main food plant for the Adonis Blue butterfly.

    21. How about this stunner?

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Devil's-bit Scabious(Succisa pratensis)

      This is the rather magical seedhead of the Devil's-bit Scabious - a wonderful plant which grows both on dry chalk and wet mildly acidic meadows. It is the food plant for the Marsh Fritillary butterfly, which causes the confusion when one spots Marsh Fritillaries flying about on parched pieces of grassland. In leaf look for striking white mid-ribs on the basal leaves, making look a bit like Pak Choi.

    22. This can turn whole grasslands yellow in early summer. Look at the unusual sepals...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Bulbous Buttercup (Ranunculus bulbosus)

      The hook here are the downward pointing sepals (this is really unusual in flowers, evolution took a weird turn with this one). If you haven't got a flower gently rootle around at the base of the stem and you should find the bulb..

    23. Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) agg.

      Just look at those flowers!

    24. And another beauty - the clue to this is in the long nectar tubes

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Gymnadenia conopsea (Fragrant Orchid)

    25. This one is easy to muddle, but remember we're just talking about flowers on dry chalk here...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Dropwort (Filipendula vulgaris)

      Closely related to Meadowsweet, this species only grows in dry chalk grassland

    26. This plant is perfectly adapted to avoid having its flowerhead grazed off, and is only found in good quality chalk grassland. A wonderful plant, until you sit on one....

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Dwarf Thistle (Cirsium acaule)

    27. This orchid is the jewel in the crown at Coombe Bissett, as it only grows in one location on the reserve.

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Burnt-tip Orchid (Neotinea ustulata)

      The colour is unmistakable with the white base and deep crimson top. What is more surprising is how small they can be, with some specimens one a few centimetres tall, so they really do need some looking for

    28. It's the final pea (do-do-do doo etc)

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Meadow Vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis)

      Leaves in pairs, looking like upright bunny ears. And very visible tendrils, which is a key character of many types of pea.

    29. Lovely colourful flower, first appearing in early summer...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Germander Speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys)

      By far the largest flowers of any of the terrestrial speedwells - if in doubt check the stem hairs, which should be in two distinct rows

    30. This is a common site on banks and chalk grasslands in the Spring, but what if you only had a leaf to go on?

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Cowslip (Primula veris)

    31. How about this lil' beauty?

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Fairy Flax (Linum catharticum)

      An absolute gem of chalk grasslands, only surviving on sites where good grazing keeps the sward open enough

    32. Another grass! This one has heads under 6cm

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Smaller Cat's-tail (Phleum bertolonii)

      Not entirely easy out of context - but if you find a grass with this sort of sausage-shaped head, check the awns to see if they have two 'devil's-horns' - if so you have a Cat's-tail, and if it's smaller than 6cm and you're on chalk grassland it will be this one (>6cm would be Timothy, and if it only had one horn it would be a Foxtail)

    33. Now for the dreaded 'yellow composites' - but how hard hard are they?

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Rough Hawkbit (Leontodon hispidus)

      This plant is much easier when you have it in the hand as it has noticeably rough leaves. With a hand lens you can observe all the hairs have split ends, and this is the only large dandelion-like plant to do this

    34. Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Common Rock-rose (Helianthemum nummularium)

      A lovely sprawling plant of chalk banks - just look at the red strips on the sepals!

    35. Another sedge!

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Spring Sedge (Carex caryophyllea)

      Unmistakable with its yellow-green rosette of leaves; if you find one in flower look for a club shaped male spike at the top.

    36. Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Hedge Bedstraw (Galium album)

      More profusely flowering than Cleavers, with a wonderful sweet smell. Totally lacking in comedy effect when you try and stick it on someone's back though...(but good a way of telling apart from the much more sticky cleavers)

    37. Not quite a grass, nor a sedge...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Field Wood-rush (Luzula campestris)

      A super cool member of the broader Rush family. Very early flowering, this has the colloquial name of 'Good Friday grass' The leaves are superbly hairy, also looking like sheep's wool has got stuck on them. This is the only species of this genus you can find in dry grasslands, but if you're not sure, look for the red nobs on the end of the leaves.

    38. Here's the other one which pops up on low nutrient soils, often on chalk but also on heathland and dunes

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Mouse-ear Hawkweed (Pilosella officinarum)

      As well as having beautifully hairy leaves with white undersides, you can also look for the sulphurous yellow flowers. To be honest the hardest thing with this group of plants is the common names, which sound like they were made up by someone who was obsessed with hawks and cats (and occasionally goats)

    39. Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis)

      One of the larger scabious species - with bristly hairy stem and leaves, which you can see in the top photo.

    40. Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria)

      Lovely tall spikes of yellow flowers. Not so lovely when the burrs get stuck in your dog/socks/underwear

    Create your own post!

    This post was created by a member of the BuzzFeed Community.You can join and make your own posts and quizzes.

    Sign up to create your first post!

    BuzzFeed Quizzes
     

    Sign up to the BuzzFeed Quizzes Newsletter - Binge on the latest quizzes delivered right to your inbox with the Quizzes newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form