GALLERY: Look out for spring flowers arriving early

In the south of Finland it's been one of the most mild, snow-free winters on record - which increases the chance of seeing early spring flowers.

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Wood anemones / Credit: Paul Stevens

Spring is just around the corner, in fact nature seems to think it has already started, with hazel trees flowering, blackbirds mating and birds already arriving from their wintering grounds.

This is very unusual for February, which is normally the coldest month of the year.

So, to brighten up the mood in stormy February here are some spring flowers for you to spot over the coming months.

Look out for the flowers of wind-pollinated trees such as the willows, as well as the showy insect-pollinated ones like the wood anemone.

The separate male and female flowers of wind-pollinated trees can be quite beautiful when you look closely. Some of the spring flowers will later produce the lovely forest berries which we collect and enjoy later in the year. It’s important they flower at the right time when pollinating insects like bees are also flying.

These wildflower pictures were taken in April and May, the usual months for them to be open, but with a very mild winter – and Helsinki going without any measurable snow in January and February for the first time ever – you’re more likely to see these flowers blooming earlier than usual this year.

This gallery of wildflowers comes from the lens of Espoo-based wildlife photographer Paul Stevens.