22 June 2009

June flowers

This and next week are when we will try to get as much as possible of the wild orchid recording done, as more species are in flower than at any other time of the year.

On Saturday we went to a site where Early Marsh Orchids (Dactylorhiza incarnata) had been reported. We found a number of these beautiful orchids which come in 4 subspecies, and we suspect that there could have been 2 of these present, but we still have to get this verified.

Early marsh orchids like to grow in extremely wet areas, as in the picture below, often on hummocks sticking up out of the water.

Later we went to another site which turned out to be rather disappointing, but on our way back one member of the party spotted some Coral Root Orchids (Corallorhiza trifida) among grass under birch trees. This will certainly rank among the most exciting finds we have made this year, and it is the only current record for this orchid in West Perth.

You might just be able to spot them in the grass near the bottom towards the right in this picture.

The next day I took the opportunity of a walk up Ben Lawers, which is well known for its alpine flowers, and also its neighbour, Beinn Ghlas. As I was with a non-botanical group, I didn't get a lot of opportunity to look for the rarer species, but hope to be returning there for a more detailed search in 2 weeks' time.

Although not uncommon on the Scottish hills, Moss Campion (Silene acaulis) made a beautiful display all over the hills.

I even found one Purple Saxifrage still in flower.

Another species commonly seen was Alpine Mouse-ear (Cerastium alpinum), a flower which is very local and only found on high mountains.

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