Spring flowers and flowering trees

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From the first weeks of March to the warmer month of May, spring flowers and fruit trees come into bloom. There’s a kind of magic when the first burst of colourful flowers begin to be spotted in gardens, fields and forests in France. Many flowers come into bloom in the early season of spring: hyacinthe, iris, ranunculus and especially snowdrop.


Spring flowers in France

There are a few flowers which come into bloom in spring, some are found in gardens, others in the fields and surrounding forests.

The title of each flower shows the: English name / French name / Latin name.


Wood violet / Violette des bois/ Viola odorata

This aromatic and delicate little flower grows in the woods, in clearings or at the edges of forests. It is a symbolic flower of Toulouse.


Cowslip / Coucou or Primevère officinale / Primula veris

Often found in open fields, meadows and hedgerows across the east of France, this plant is quite rare in the west of France and in Mediterranean regions.


Common primrose / Primevère commune / Primula vulgaris

The flowers of the common primrose are usually pale yellow but can also be pink. The primrose is found in gardens, and on the edges of roads.


Lily of the Valley / Muguet / Convallaria majalis

A symbolic flower of May Day in France, lily of the valley grows in the forests of northern France.


Wood forget-me-not / Myosotis des bois / Myosotis sylvatica

These intense blue flowers are in full bloom from April to June and are common in the fresh and clear woods, in clearings and meadows.


Wild Daffodil / Jonquille or Narcisse jaune / Narcissus pseudonarcissus

The long yellow flower with its central trumpet is particularly found in the high-pastures of the Vosges.


Common daisy / Pâquerette / Bellis perennis

She is found in the fields, meadows, on the edges of paths and lawns. Her petals close at night time before re-opening in the early morning. The French name ‘Pâquerette’ derives from ‘Pâques’ (Easter) because it is in full bloom around that time of the year.


Red poppy / Coquelicot / Papaver rhoeas

The flowering of the fragile and delicate red poppies occurs between April and July in the fields and on the edges of roads and paths. The flower is a remembrance emblem of WWI when it bloomed in between the trenches in Picardy and Flanders.


Shrubs and trees in blossom in spring

Each spring flowering trees add beautiful touches to French gardens and it is not uncommon for villages in the countryside to be adorned in the white flowers of fruit trees.

The title of each shrub and tree shows the: English name / French name / Latin name.

Forsythia

This shrub, with its bright yellow flowers, is amongst the first to be in full bloom in March. It is mostly found in residential gardens in France and is nicknamed ‘Mimosa of Paris’.


Lilac / Lilas / Syringa vulgaris

This ornamental shrub has strong scented flowers of white, purple or lilac colours. It often adorns French residential gardens.

Purple coloured lilac:

Lilac coloured lilac:


Blue wattle / Mimosa / Acacia dealbata

A native tree from Australia with bright yellow flower heads, it was introduced into France in 1867. In the French Riviera, the blue wattle is in full bloom most of winter between January and March.


Horse-chestnut tree / Marronnier d’Inde / Aesculus hippocastanum

This grand tree is widely found in streets and parks throughout France. Its large and decorative panicles include 20 to 50 flowers which are white with a small red spot.


Apple Tree / Pommier

The flowers of the apple tree have five petals, which may be white, pink or red with red stamens. Apple trees add a charming touch to the countryside of Normandy, enhanced by the intensity of the green pastures.


Cherry Tree / Cerisier

The blossoming cherry trees display white flowers with white stamens. It is found everywhere across France and particularly in Provence but also in Alsace where its fruits are used to prepare kirsch liquor.


Almond Tree / Amandier

The almond tree is the first of the fruit trees to blossom at the end of winter. The flowers of the almond tree are white to pale pink with five petals, which appear before the leaves in late March and the beginning of April. It is one of the symbols of love and virginity: the white flowers adorning its branches resemble the dress of the bride. These trees are found in Provence, Corsica and along the Alsatian vineyards.


Mirabelle Tree / Mirabellier

The flowers of the Mirabelle tree (a variety of prune tree) are generally white or pale pink. The trees are mostly found in Lorraine and in Aquitaine.


English-French Vocabulary

(f) for féminin, (m) for masculin, (adj) for adjective and (v) for verbs

  • apple tree = pommier (m)
  • to blossom = fleurir (v)
  • branch = branche (f)
  • cherry tree = cerisier (m)
  • clearing = clairière (f)
  • countryside = campagne (f)
  • field = champ (m)
  • flower = fleur (f)
  • flowering tree = arbre en fleur (m)
  • forest = forêt (f)
  • fruit = fruit (m)
  • garden = jardin (m)
  • hedgerow = haie (f)
  • leaf = feuille (f)
  • meadow = prairie (f), pré (m)
  • pasture = pâturage (m)
  • petal = pétale (f)
  • plant = plante (f)
  • season = saison (f)
  • shrub = arbuste (m)
  • spring = printemps (m)
  • stamen = étamine (f)
  • tree = arbre (m)
  • vineyard = vignoble (m)
  • wood = bois (m)

Find out more about springtime in France.

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About Author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. In 2014 he moved back to Europe from Sydney with his wife and daughter to be closer to their families and to France. He has a background teaching French and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations and a degree of Economics and Management.

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