The flora of Périgord in South-West France is abundant and diverse. In this blog you can find, in pictures, brief encounters with several hundreds of wild flowers and plants as they grow here in French Perigord. Following the seasons other species are added. An index of scientific and English names you find below on the right.

Corine Oosterlee is a botanist and photographer and she offers guided Botanical Walks and other activities around plants and vegetation in nature in Perigord. Do you want to know more? On you can find more information. For Corine's photography see Both websites also in English.


December 15, 2023

'Spirea-leaved Fleabane'

A foggy day in winter. We are on the slopes above the Dordogne river. On descending we arrive on a little outcrop between the oaks. There are no flowers anymore but the remnants of perennial plants flowering here in another season are still visible.



Grasses, fallen leaves and the long blackened stems cover this little height. The latter are from Inula spiraeifolia (let us call it 'Spirea-leaved Fleabane', it has no official name in English). It is a plant of dry limestone slopes and you don't find it very often in Perigord.


'Spirea-leaved Fleabane' generally grows in tufts or larger groups and its stalks carry dense corymbs with small flowerheads. You cannot see anymore that its flowers have been yellow.

For that you have to wait until spring.


In July it does not pass unnoticed! 



Here, the wind, or maybe a roe deer, managed to flatten the stems like stalks in a cereal field after a storm. Not that easy, those stems are rigid and tend to keep upright whatever happens. The leaves are more or less vertical and there are a lot of them.


Another Fleabane looks very much like it and it is easy to confound the two species. Sometimes they grow near each other. Irish Fleabane (Inula salicina) is less rare and has a wider range, it grows also in more humid and sandy places.



It has larger flower heads solitary on their stems or a few together. And its leaves are horizontal, the tips slightly bending down.


September 6, 2023

Johnson Grass

Now the sunflowers have dried out, but some weeks ago they were still flourishing. Above the flower heads on their long stems a reddish hue can be seen, the flowering ears of a very big grass.


Johnson Grass (Sorgho halepensis) is a widespread perennial in agricultural fields. It grows well in circumstances suitable for crops. A lot of nitrogen and a loose soil makes it grow very fast and high. It has a well-developed root system and produces many seeds. It stands well heat and drought, better than crops, and it does not fear a wet summer. It is so competitive compared to crops that in a few years large colonies can develop. It can be found also on roadsides and fallow fields, tractor wheels take the seeds everywhere. It is considered as an invasive plant, actually, we see it more and more in Perigord.


Yet it is a beautiful plant, decorative in fields. And also in a vase. The big ears make a good contrast in shape and colour with summer flowers like zinnias, dahlias and cosmos.


When in flower the big airy plumes carry small light green stamens.


The central vein of the leaves is white, Johnson Grass is easy to recognize even when not in flower.

July 16, 2023

Cantabria Morning Glory


It is not any longer in flower now. On its branched stems only small fruits can be found.



But two months ago Cantabria Morning Glory (Convolvulus cantabrica) was in flower everywhere on dry stony limestone slopes.


This meadow is scattered with its pink flowers between the flowering ears of Somerset Hair-grass (Koeleria vallesiana) and other typical plants of this habitat. It was May, everything was still green, the plants did profit from the humidity of the early season to grow and flower.


Cantabria Morning Glory has pink pentagonal flowers on stalks more or less prostrate. In contrast with  other Morning Glories this one does not climb.


Its leaves are long and undulated and a bit downy. And the flowers close at night, early in the morning they are not yet open.




July 7, 2023

Italian Lords-and-Ladies

Two months ago this bizarre flower could still be found everywhere in woodlands and under trees. Maybe the inflorescence of Italian Lords-and-Ladies (Arum italicum) is not especially beautiful, but it serves its purpose very well.

The spathe, this large whitish bract, contains in its inferior part minuscule flowers well hidden from view. Only a kind of yellow club is visible, it attracts tiny flies.


Those flies enter into the lower part of the spathe where they find odorousand  tasteful pollen-grains. That the smells are good may compensate for the fact that they are prisoners now, the entrance is blocked by reverse hairs so they can't climb out. Only after pollination those hairs dry out and the flies are free to leave and fly around in search of a new spathe-trap.

The result of this special trick:  berries. 



Now, in July, they are still green or just a bit orangy. The pale tuberous ring below them is the remnant of the spathe that has fallen off a few weeks ago.


Soon the berries will turn into a very attractive red. And as an extra, they are sweet! Take care, they are poisonous for us (but there are birds that can eat them without problems and sometimes also roe deer and small rodents).


Only at the end of winter and early spring the attractively white-veined and speckled leaves can be found; they disappear when the flower spathes come out. It is a perennial plant, an underground root system survives.


Italian Lords-and-Ladies leaves withoput spots also exist, they are small and belong to young plants of the year.

March 24, 2023



This flower that shows us its trumpet is a Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus). Its white tepals are nearly gone. Is it alone? 



Surely not, Daffodils mosty grow in large groups and here, on top of a cliff, everywhere on the forest floor you see its long green leaves.



Most Daffodil bulbs only produce leaves. Only after some years and in favorable circumstances they will carry flowers. Many of those bulbs will never flower. Daffodils grow from seed but also from small bulbs that develop on older plants. Thus, in tens or maybe even hundreds of years, they can cover a large surface.



Daffodils like humus and places with light shadow and not too dry soil. Here they grow high up a steep slope, out of reach from those who want to pick the flowers. In Dordogne, Daffodils are rare and they are so beautiful people like to get the bulbs for their garden, but here, they survive..

This group on the edge of the cliff risks to loos equilibrium and to fall down. Indeed, below some plants grow, even if they don't flower. Maybe the result of earlier falls.



The wild Daffodil is at the origin of many cultivars, sometime after hybridization with other Narcissus. But those plants here are really wild. They are smaller that garden Daffodils and yellow and white instead of yellow.



The microclimat makes a difference, in the place high up there are clearly more plants still flowering. More sun, less wind, more shade from the rocks?

March 8, 2023

Grey Willow


Those branches are somewhat ridged, if you remove the bark you can see that the wood is striated. This is typical for the Grey Willow (Salix atrocinerea). Often it is difficult to distinguish the different Willow species, still more so because they easily form hybrids. In Dordogne, Grey Willow is the commonest species.


This big bush or small tree grows nearly everywhere in places where it is wet enough during a large part of the year.


Here an old specimen on the edge of a pond. It has finished flowering before the new leaves appear, and now the male catkins that lost their pollen have fallen and now float on the water surface. The Salicaceae (Willow and Poplar family) are all dioeciousc. This means they have flowers with only pistils or only stamens, never both of them, and on every individual plant you find only pistillate or only staminate flowers, never both of them.


The catkins are downy, maybe that's why they are called 'catkins', But when they are in full bloom you don't see the downy hairs, the long filaments of the stamens topped with yellow pollen are longer than the hairs. In every catkin there are dozens of flowers, each with two stamens.


The female catkins here are growing and turning from grey to green, they begin to open up. As woth male catkins there are dozens of flowersin each catkin. Every flower bears a gourd-like structure that ends in a yellow tip. This is the carpel that later on will carry the seed with its yellow pistils.


Some long-awaited raindrops don't do much harm. A leaf of last year has not fallen, in Grey Willow it is more oval than long.

October 23, 2022

European Umbrella Milkwort


We are at the end of october but when you look at this field you could think it is May, so many flowers!

Most of them are species that flower as well before as after the drought and hotness of summer, and the little bit of rain that has fallen since then is enough for them to flower. The clovers grown here for fodder are definitely a minority.




In this field on sandy soil on the edge of a Sweet Chestnut forest a small flower with unusual colours is very obvious.



European Umbrella Milkword (Tolpis umbellata) is an Asteraceae. In its flower heads we see pale yellow radiating flowers around a dark red heart.



Every ligulate flower has only one petal fringed at its end. The exterior ligulate flowers are much larger than the lemon yellow and red interior ones. The pistils are nearly invisible in the picture, they are hidden in the flowers. Only some small spots of yellow pollen are visible.


The flowers in the flower head are surrounded by bracts that have all the same length and are covered by grey felt hairs. A second row of longer and irregular bracts form a kind of crown under the flower head. A bit lower on the stem also some bract-like leaves can be seen.



European Umbrella Milkwort is a mediterranean plant and it is not often found in Dordogne, it is at the limit of its area. You could think that with climate change it could become more common here. That's not sure at all, to flourish it needs agricultural fields on sandy soil without herbicide and fertilizer. And this type of habitat is disappearing in Dordogne.