Ferns

Equipped with James Merryweather’s excellent Fern Guide, I’m trying to identify the ferns that grow prolifically all around here. Starting with the easy ones, there is hart’s tongue in every hedge, and hard fern. Hard fern is plentiful in the hedges but also makes a fringe to the banks of Ludbrook. Polypodies are also very common, even…

Scandinavia

The immense mine at Falun in Sweden at one time provided two-thirds of Europe’s copper. Pollution from smelting wiped out plants and micro-organisms for several kilometres around. The mine closed in 1992 and a beautiful array of wildflowers has recolonised the area immediately adjacent to the mine. By the sea in Copenhagen: Platform 26, Copenhagen…

Marsh and meadow

Some water-loving plants out in July at White Oxen, including brooklime, marsh bedstraw, ragged robin, and fool’s watercress. Water figwort: Long-stalked cranesbill on drier ground: At home in August, small tortoiseshells on buddleia

Plymouth

A lovely selection of flowers at Mount Wise Redoubt, a part of Plymouth I hadn’t seen before. Many bushes of spiny restharrow (because its tough stems would stop or ‘arrest’ a harrow), with teasels, knapweed and field scabious. I think the knapweed is lesser knapweed but a less common variant that has divided petals like…

South Milton to Thurlestone

There is a small patch of pyramidal orchids where the coast path passes South Milton Ley nature reserve, and swathes of greater knapweed with occasional agrimony. A solitary specimen of black horehound in the hedge opposite the cafe at South Milton sands. The leaves emit a pungent smell when crushed. Prickly blue sea holly is related to the more common wild…

Damselflies and darters

Lucy and I spent a couple of hours surrounded by damselflies and dragonflies at DWT Bovey Heathfield nature reserve. Many damselflies are bright blue and can be distinguished by the shape of the black mark on the second abdominal segment, which means taking a photo from above while they are still. Easier said than done….

South Brent island

There were loads of common red soldier beetles on hogweed and yarrow at the Island.   This is a broad centurion, a type of soldier fly. They are called soldier flies because of their brightly coloured ‘uniforms’. Broad centurion males have bronze abdomens, like this one. Females have blue-green abdomens. This moth is a beautiful golden Y….

Finland

This is cheating a bit, but I couldn’t resist taking photos of flowers while at a conference in Helsinki. Lupins were stunning on the roadside verges from the airport to the city, and in Helsinki’s parks, along with lilac and occasional wild pansies. Lots of flowers on the island of Suomenlinna, including some interesting plants…

Orchids

In woods near South Brent last weekend, we saw five specimens of the rare greater butterfly orchid. Many thanks are due to the man walking dogs who offered to show us the first one. There was also a specimen of rather late early purple orchid. Beaked hawksbeard Common sorrel Marsh thistles

Bantham

At Bantham last weekend, admiring the large clumps of kidney vetch, sheep’s bit, thrift and sea campions seemingly growing out of bare rock on the cliffs. The most exciting find was a somewhat sorry looking specimen of the Nationally Scarce balm-leaved figwort. Annoyingly, I failed to get a decent photo of the flowers but you can…

Nearer the sea

Several specimens of common ramping fumitory close to Marldon football pitch and a good example of hedge mustard. In Plymouth, there was some musk storksbill near the underpass between North Cross and Armada Way.