Hemsted Forest and Greatstone, East Kent - 13/06/20

 Hemsted Forest is a wood near to Benenden Hospital in south Kent. I had never been there before so thought I would take a walk and see what I could find. The following are the plants I photographed. It's always nice to find a Spring flower still going in to the early Summer. This is the Bugle of which I am accustomed to seeing in the presence of Bluebells and Early Purple Orchids. Ajuga reptans This is a Hard Fern, which has different leaves - one is fertile, the other isn't, thus easy to identify. Blechnum spicant The congested flowerhead of a Marsh Thistle, a plant that often exceeds six feet in height. Cirsium palustre The odd Common Sppotted Orchid was dotted along the woodland rides. Dactylorhiza fuchsii Dwarfing the orchids were Foxgloves, some well over 6 feet tall and most in full flower. A firm favourite of Bumblebees. Digitalis purpurea The big green-leaved plant is what I first noticed as it is a Broad-leaved Helleborine ( Epipactis helleborine ) , a late Summer flo

Early June Botany in North Kent

I thought it might make a change to enjoy a selection of plants from more than one trip in one blog. It will give you a flavour of what there is to be found at the beginning of June following on from a long drought in May. Beaked Hawksbeard is the earliest Hawkbeard to flower, making it easy to get one's eye in for it, before numerous look alikes appear. However, this one was a massive fasciated plant with a mind boggling amount of flowers. Field edge near Eynsford. What a monster! Crepis vesicaria Found nearby was this Fumitory. I thought it would be interesting to include this to show you what you need to consider to start identifying them. The size of the flowers and sepals are important. I find Broomrapes are fascinating and there are several species in the UK to find. They parasitise other plants. Some are very particular as to which (so are rare as a result) others attach themselves to pretty much any plant nearby, like this Common Broomrape. They are usually an off purple/li

Lesser Butterflies in West Kent - 25/05/20

Unfortunately I have to keep this venue secret as it's mainly about Lesser Butterfly Orchids and they are now gone from all of West Kent except this one venue. So, to protect them from theft or inadvertent trampling, I will keep this blog generalised in regards to location. All of this was unbeknown to me as I headed out for a relatively local walk in the west Kent downland. I didn't even know Lesser Butterfly Orchids were even found in West Kent so I hardly expected to find any. In fact the purpose of choosing this venue to explore was some 10 years old records for Fly and Man Orchids and some older records for Birds Nest Orchids, so I hoped to re-find some of these. It was a long walk uphill from the car to this wood, but I eventually got there. It was a hot day too, around 25 degrees and the walk made me perspire. As I walked along a narrow overgrown path I spotted something down a slope. From a distance it looked a bit like a Star of Bethlehem or perhaps an Allium,