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

Peas, hawksbeard and mutant plantains

Many relatives of the pea are flowering now. At Ivybridge station there are two sorts of medick, spotted medick, black medick, and lesser trefoil. Black medick, with dense pompoms of flowers and a tiny point – mucro – on the tip of each leaf: Lesser trefoil, with looser flower heads: Vetches and clover are part of the…

Dartmoor and the coast

 I was excited to see a small patch of marsh violets a month ago near Piles Copse. Now they seem to be on the bank of every stream and ditch on the moor. I don’t remember seeing such a display before.       Tiny but distinctive pink flowers of lousewort are showing through the grass, with the ubiquitous…

mid-May sunshine

Greater celandine has appeared this month, a relative of the Welsh poppy and not of lesser celandine. It is named after the Greek ‘chelidon’ or swallow, as it flowers when the swallows arrive. The bright orange sap is said to cure warts and for this reason, greater celandine was often planted around the walls and gateways of houses, where indeed it is still…