Goldilocks Buttercup is an easily overlooked species. Recently whilst out with the family I saw some growing in the woods near Lancut in the Wye Valley, but did not have my camera with me so I returned a couple of days latter to photograph them and had some difficulty locating them.
This was in early May which is when it flowers.
Partly this was because they were at the end of the flowering season and only a few were still with petals. Having said this they sometimes even flower without petals, just the yellow stamens and stigmas are all that there is of the flower. Even when they do produce petals they are quite rudimentary.
The plant is a member of the Buttercup family and looks like a stunted buttercup, so visually not that exciting. However you do not see them every day, partly because they are not that common and partly because as I have explained they are easily overlooked.
Its distribution is somewhat odd, being mainly recorded from central regions of the UK. In Wales it is largely absent except along the border with England. There are several recordings of it over the last 30 years along the Wye valley.
The above two photos were taken on my return visit to the Lancut area along the Wye valley. You can see that the flowers are quite insignificant. In the left hand photo you can see that one flower only has one full size petal and the others are all quite rudimentary. You can also see that the leaves are not much like buttercup leaves, they are narrow and stellate, resembling more the appearance of Woodruff or Cleavers.
On one of my first visits to my portion of Ninewells wood I made a list of species present and Goldilocks was one that I recorded, however I have not seen it for several years, not since we had the Corsican Pines felled. Maybe it was a victim of the rather harsh treatment a woodland gets when it is clear felled….. Sorry.
To check out other wildflowers found in the woods of the Wye valley and Ninewells wood click Woodland Wildflowers of the Wye valley and Monmouthshire.