KBRG Field Trip - Cutlers Wood, Kent. 17/05/18

This belated blog will show some of the amazing plants that we discovered on a Kent Botanical Recording Group field trip to a a private woodland in East Kent. Permission had been given to survey the flora which in turn will assist the landowner in managing his land for the wildlife.

This trip occurred at the end of Spring when it was warm with rain every few days, unlike now (mid July) where it has been dry for over a month with roasting temperatures.

As such, I was pleased to find a very late flowering Wood Anemone at the edge of the above clearing.

Anemone nemorosa

Another straggler from the Spring were several clumps of Cuckooflower, with their delicately veined pink petals.

Cardamine pratensis

Crosswort and Bugle made attractive contrasting stands in a field at the woodland edge.

Cruciata laevipes and Ajuga reptans

In the same field were numerous Houndstongue plants in flower. They are quite frequent on chalk and also in coastal areas, though declining substanitally in recent years.

Cynoglossum officinale

Sometimes one forgets to look up off the ground when botanising. These small yellow flowers of the Spindle Tree are actually very easy to miss - unlike their bright pink and orange fruits later in the year.

Euonymus europaeus

Golden Archangel were at their peak now in the shady woods.

Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp montanum

In a way Common Gromwell is similar to Houndstongue in that it is a tall, large plant with small insignificant flowers.

Lithospermum officinale

Yellow Pimpernels were a frequent sight on the woodland paths.

Lysimachia nemorum

On the same woodland path, the group found some perplexing leaves which some thought were Adder's Tongue (a fern) and others were not so sure.

However, eventually we found one with the "adder's tongue" obviously prominent, thus settling the argument.

I'd only seen this before in unimproved neutral grassland so it was a surprise to find it in deep shade.

Ophioglossum vulgatum

There were still a few Early Purple Orchids here and there, though many had gone to seed.

Orchis mascula

We saw several butterflies, hoverflies, beetles and bugs as well as the plants.

We then came to a very special area full of Fly Orchids.

As is often the case, most were in shade or dappled sunlight and to reduce weight I would have to carry all day, I didn't have a tripod with me.

Ophrys insectifera

There were also numerous Common Twayblades in the area and a couple of Greater Butterfly Orchids in bud.

But then we came to the highlight of the field trip. Well over 100 of them, seen in every monad we visited.

The wonderful and quite rare Lady Orchid.

There were some very unusual variants here, some with heavy purple spotting.

Another had very bright coloured-in purple skirts

As these beautiful orchids are now long gone until 2019, I'll indulge myself with a few more photos!

  Orchis purpurea
 So ended an eventful and wonderful day and what's more it was completely free. Anyone with an interest on learning about our wild plants can join the Kent Botanical Recording Group; from complete novice to advanced botanist, all are welcome. See https://bsbi.org/kent for details or https://bsbi.org and click on the map where you live to find your own local group.



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