Plants with White Flowers

White flowers can be found in many plant families; in the spring they are commonly found in the chickweed and mouse-ear family - small to very small plants with five-petalled flowers that can be obvious as early as late February or early March. In early summer, shrubs with white flowers are common, especially in the rose family.

As well as flower colour, it is important to take careful note of the exact petal shape - are the petals rounded, or do they came to a sharp point, for example; are there gaps between the petals or do they overlap; are the flowers solitary, or arranged in spikes or bunches.

If you are struggling to identify a white flower, it is worth bearing in mind that white colour forms of normally red or blue-flowered species occur from time to time and can even be quite frequent in some plant populations; where I have pictures of these, they are included in the guide. Such plants often occur as individuals within typically-coloured plants of the same species so it is always worth looking at what else is in the immediate area.

Within the colour sections, the pictures are grouped so that similar-looking (though not necessarily closely-related) plants will be near each other. This should help to reduce your search time. To keep things concise, not all species are shown in the colour keys, so you may have to go for a 'best match' to get you through to the next stage of the identification process. Particularly in large families where there are a number of very similar species, a representative species is shown here, but clicking on it will take you to a page that tells you how to tell the more difficult species apart.

Many plants will be obviously one colour or another, obviously five petalled, or obviously a woody shrub, etcetera. But many will be debatable. In such cases, I have tried to imagine how a flower might be perceived by others, especially beginners to plant identification. Generally this results in a plant appearing in more than one place on these pages, but some still remain problematic. In particular, the section labelled 'tubular flowers' contains a variety of flowers that might be considered to fall into that category and these generally have petals that are fused together to fully surround the sexual parts of the flower. But these tubes might be elongate like a pencil, or broad and bell-like. Flowers of two colours are entered under the colour that covers most of the flower, but truly bicoloured flowers may be entered under both colours. Woody plants with green stems that might not be considered woody, are entered under their flower colour or shape, as well as under the woody plants sections.

If you still can't find your plant, you either have something very interesting that you may wish to tell me about, or I just haven't got a picture of it yet - I'm still working on the latter!!

Click on the pictures below to go to the species pages.

No Petals
Common Meadow-rue Spanish Catchfly Blunt-flowered Rush White Beak-sedge
Meadow-rues

Spanish Catchfly

Rushes

White Beak-sedge

Pellitory-of-the-wall Mind-your-own-business Unbranched Bur-reed
Pellitory-of-the-wall

Mind-your-own-business

Bur-reeds

Mare's-tail Parrot's-feather Spiked Water-milfoils
Mare's-tail

Parrot's-feather

Water-milfoils

Two Petals
Common Enchanter's Nightshade
Enchanter's Nightshades

Three Petals
Frog-bit Common Arrowhead Heath Milkwort Common Snowdrop
Waterweeds

Water-plantains

Milkworts

Snowdrops

Four Petals
Common Scurvygrass Early Whitlowgrass Marsh Bedstraw Common Cleavers
Cabbage Family

Cresses

Bedstraws

Bedstraws

New Zealand Pygmyweed Squinancywort May Lily Common Poppy
New Zealand
Pygmyweed

Squinancywort

May Lily

Common Poppy

Greater Dodder Perennial Candytuft Common Pepperwort
Dodders

Candytufts

Pepperworts

Five Petals
European Field Pansy Common Hollyhock Wood Sorrel Grass-of-Parnassus
Pansies & Violets

Hollyhocks

Wood Sorrel

Grass-of-Parnassus

Bladder Ketmia
Bladder Ketmia

Dog Rose River Water-crowfoot Meadow Saxifrage Common Primrose
Rose Family

Water-crowfoots

Saxifrages

Primroses

Common Hawthorn Greater Periwinkle Wild Strawberry Meadow-foam
Rose Family

Periwinkles

Strawberries
& allies

Meadow-foam

Hedgerow Crane's-bill White Campion Field Mouse-ear Fairy Flax
Crane's-bills

Campions

Mouse-ears

Fairy Flax

Borage Rock Crane's-bill Fairy Foxglove Confused Eyebright
Borage

Rock Crane's-bill

Fairy Foxglove

Eyebrights

Sea Sandwort Blinks Round-leaved Sundew Thyme-leaved Sandwort
Sea Sandwort

Blinks

Sundews

Sandworts

Rue-leaved Saxifrage Common Londonpride White Stonecrop Bogbean
Saxifrages

Saxifrages

Stonecrops

Bogbean

Mudwort Western Bastard-toadflax Corn Spurrey Equal-leaved Knotweed
Mudwort

Western Bastard-toadflax

Corn Spurrey

Knotweeds

Water Chickweed Small-flowered Catchfly Shaggy Soldier Little Mouse-ear
Chickweeds
& Stitchworts

Small-flowered
Catchfly

Daisy Family

Mouse-ears

Marsh Pennywort Thyme-leaved Speedwell European Brookweed Perfoliate Springbeauty
Pennyworts

Speedwells

European Brookweed

Perfoliate
Springbeauty

Marsh Valerian Common Vervain Knotted Hedge-parsley Stone Parsley
Common Valerian

Common Vervain

Umbellifers

Umbellifers

Fringecups Garden Pea Black Nightshade
Fringecups

Peas & Vetches

Nightshades

Six Petals
Wood Anemone Three-cornered Garlic Common Star-of-Bethlehem Drooping Star-of-Bethlehem
Wood Anemone

Onions & Garlics

Common Star-of-Bethlehem

Drooping Star-of-Bethlehem

Spring Starflower Madonna Lily Pheasant's-eye Daffodil Spanish-dagger
Spring Starflower

Lilies

Daffodils

Spanish-dagger

Common Snowdrop Summer Snowflake
Common Snowdrop

Summer
Snowflake

More Than Six Petals
Common Snowdrop Yellow Water-lily Love-in-a-mist Greater Masterwort
Snowdrops

Water-lilies

Love-in-a-mist

Masterworts

Sneezewort Common Hollyhock European Peony Rose-moss
Sneezewort

Hollyhocks

Peonies

Rose-moss

Many-rayed Flowers
Common Daisy Late Michaelmas-daisy
Common Daisy

Asters

Tubular Flowers (petals fused into a tube-like form)
Spring Crocus Spring Heath White Comfrey Creeping Comfrey
Crocuses

Heaths

Comfries

Comfries

Common Foxglove Common Bluebell Snake's-head Fritillary Summer Snowflake
Common Foxglove

Bluebells

Snake's-head
Fritillary

Summer Snowflake

Lily-of-the-valley
Lily-of-the-valley

Hedge Bindweed Peach-leaved Bellflower Altar Lily White Dead-nettle
Bindweeds

Bellflowers

Altar Lily

Dead-nettles

Small Toadflax Ivy-leaved Toadflax Subterranean Clover Rough Clover
Toadflaxes & allies

Toadflaxes & allies

Clovers

Clovers

Common Toothwort
Common Toothwort

Many-flowered Heads
Marsh Bedstraw Perennial Candytuft Hoary Cress Horseradish
Bedstraws

Candytuft

Cresses

Cabbage Family

Fool's Watercress Cow Parsley Yarrow Rhubarb
Umbellifers

Umbellifers

Yarrow

Rhubarb

Common Meadow-rue Common Meadowsweet Red Valerian May Lily
Meadow-rues

Meadowsweets

Red Valerian

May Lily

Lizard's-tail Common Toothwort
Lizard's-tail

Common Toothwort

Japanese Knotweed Giant Knotweed Common Buckwheat Hedge Bedstraw
Knotweeds

Knotweeds

Common Buckwheat

Bedstraws

Cut-leaved Teasel Small Teasel Common Globe-thistle Bogbean
Teasels

Teasels

Globe-thistles

Bogbean

Knotted Hedge-parsley Giant Butterbur Ramsons Common Star-of-Bethlehem
Umbellifers

Heliotropes
& Butterburs

Onions & Garlics

Common Star-of-Bethlehem

Three-cornered Garlic Drooping Star-of-Bethlehem Climbing Corydalis White Ramping Fumitory
Onions & Garlics

Drooping Star-of-Bethlehem

Climbing
Corydalis

Fumitories

Spanish-dagger Indian Pokeweed Heath Spotted Orchid Early Marsh Orchid
Spanish-dagger

Pokeweeds

Orchids

Orchids

Lesser Butterfly Orchid Green-winged Orchid Creeping Lady's-tresses White Melilot
Orchids

Orchids

Lady's-tresses

Melilots

Greater Dodder Fringecups Pellitory-of-the-wall Marsh Thistle
Dodders

Fringecups

Pellitory-of-the-wall

Thistles

Greater Masterwort Giant Scabious White Clover Rough Clover
Greater Masterwort

Scabiouses

Clovers

Clovers

White Beak-sedge Branched Bur-reed Uruguayan Pampas-grass Common Cottongrass
White Beak-sedge

Bur-reeds

Grasses

Cottongrasses

Woody Trees, Shrubs & Climbers
Dog Rose Bramble agg. Crab Apple Common Hawthorn
Roses

Brambles

Rose Family

Rose Family

Japanese Spindle Alder Buckthorn Ebbinge's Oleaster Common Holly
Spindles

Alder Buckthorn

Oleasters

Hollies

Burkwood's Osmanthus Common Dogwood Cider Gum Grey Willow
Privets & allies

Dogwoods

Eucalypts

Sallows

Hybrid Winter Honeysuckle Common Honeysuckle Himalayan Honeysuckle Small-leaved Lime
Honeysuckles

Honeysuckles

Honeysuckles

Limes

Russian-vine Wireplant Bay Laurel Wild Cherry
Russian-vine

Wireplant

Bay Laurel

Cherries

Black Locust Rowan-leaved Sorbaria Common Lilac European Privet
Black Locust

Sorbarias

Lilacs

Privets & allies

Sweet Chestnut Koromiko Horse Chestnut Cherry Laurel
Sweet Chestnut

Hebes

Horse Chestnuts

Cherries

New Zealand Holly Guelder-rose Laurustinus Common Elder
Daisy-bushes

Guelder-rose

Viburnums

Elders

Manna Ash Chinese Angelica-tree
Manna Ash

Angelica-trees