Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Bluebells, orchids, goldilocks & ferns
With warmer weather spring is at its best, so here is an almost mandatory picture of bluebells (with a badger track running through them)
The early purple orchid colony I found in the clay pit in Killingan Wood is flowering now.
The flower spikes do not stand out well against the dead leaves and greenery of the woodland floor, but they are attractive close to.
Another first for the clay pit was the discovery of a solitary plant of goldilocks (Ranunculus auricomus), an ancient woodland indicator. The flowers nearly always lack a full complement of petals, though I have not seen an explanation. Maybe their need to attract pollinating insects is not great.
There are many species of fern in the clay pit and this is the best season of the year to separate them as the unfurling fronds are often more distinctive than they are later in the year. Below are pictures of the narrow-leaved buckler fern (Dryopteris carthusiana) and soft shield-fern (Polystichum setiferum) with its characteristic crozier-like frond tips.