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Today’s walk produced yet more evidence of our changing climate in the form of another very early Spring flower, this time Opposite-leaved golden saxifrage (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium), which my wildflower guide tells me shouldn’t be flowering for at least another month.

200204 opposite-leaved golden saxifrage (2)

Today’s location was typical of this plant’s favoured habitat: in woodland, along the edges of a well-shaded small stream. Its liking for damp conditions is perhaps one of the reasons it grows best in western parts of Britain and is less common in the eastern counties.

200204 opposite-leaved golden saxifrage (3)

It can be confused with its cousin Alternate-leaved golden saxifrage (Chrysosplenium alternifolium) – the key thing, as the names suggest, is to check the arrangement of the leaves. In the first photo and the one below you can see how the pairs of leaves are growing opposite each other along the stem. You can only see its slightly odd flowers – they have no petals, just eight yellow stamens.

200204 opposite-leaved golden saxifrage (1)