Mersham, Aldington & Hothfield, Kent - 17/06/18

I'd been given a tip that there were some nice Bee orchid variants at Mersham near Ashford, so I set off to see them and botanically record species I found at the same time around the nearby village of Aldington. Unfortunately the tip didn't come off, but I still had a great time and found plenty of the usual Bee Orchids to marvel at.

Ophrys apifera

Some deep coloured Pyramidal Orchids dotted a grass slope in amongst the Bee Orchids

Anacamptis pyramidalis

A Marbled White, one of many, resting on Black Medick.

A Small Heath on Hop Trefoil

Hare's Foot Clover.

Trifolium arvense

Common Centaury gave a dazzling bright pink display en masse on the sunny slopes.

Centaurium erythraea

Yellow-wort wasn't about to be left out. it only opens in full sun and being a sunny day, they put on a fine display for me.

Blackstonia perfoliata

I then headed off to the Aldington area to record species for the BSBI 2020 atlas.

Here's a beauty, the Common Cudweed, a weird plant with tiny dull yellow flowers atop a grey green hairy stem

Filago vulgaris

Damp areas and ditches are often full of wildflowers and insects and here was the same. Barren fields of crops with not a weed even around the edges were broken up by an oasis of life in a ditch.

Purple Loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria

In a field corner where the herbicides failed to reach were numerous Scented Mayweeds. These have a much smaller flower and hollow sweet smelling receptacle; whereas Scentless Mayweed has bigger flowers, a solid receptacle and no scent.

Matricaria chamomilla

Water Forget-me-not with its big blue and pink flowers in one of the ditches.

Myosotis scorpioides

in a lake were numerous Amphibious Bistort. With ponds and lakes being filled for development, they are becoming more scarce in the county.

Persicaria amphibia

My last plant of note, again from a damp area, was Marsh Woundwort. To my mind it is a more delicate and prettily flowered plant than Hedge Woundwort with which it can hybridise.

Stachys palustris

After quite a long walk around Aldington,  I moved on to Hothfield Bog, a botanical and wildlife gem. One of a very few bogs left in the county. I have blogged about the place and its flora before, so I will confine the following to just some photos of the amazing flora to be found there.

Bog Pimpernel - Anagallis tenella

Common Spotted Orchid - Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Heath Spotted Orchid - Dactylorhiza maculata

Cotton Grass in seed.

The fluffy bits fly away in the breeze taking seed with them.

Erophorum angustifolium

This Heath Spotted Orchid has picked up plenty of the fluffy white seed parachutes. You can see the brown blob of a seed near the bottom of the orchid - and the wind direction!

The amazing carnivorous Round-leaved Sundew

Drosera rotundifolia

Cross Leaved Heath

Erica tetralix

Marsh St. John's Wort - Hypericum elodes

Not forgetting the golden star of many a bog, Bog Asphodel - Narthecium ossifragum

  Lousewort - Pedicularis sylvatica

Heath Milkwort - Polygala serpyllifolia

 Lesser Spearwort - Ranunculus flammula

Finally, Ragged Robin - Silene flos-cuculi

Another wonderful day botanising and only the day after seeing the amazing plants of the Kent coast.



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