Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Spring Snowflake and Green Hellebore

On Sunday I went on my first plant hunt of the year, my target was Green Hellebore (Helleborus viridis) a scarce plant in the wild. It flowers very early in the year and the first day of March seemed a good time to go and try my luck. The problem was the only information I could find on a possible nearby location was NINE years old! Still, it was all I had so I gave it a go. The wood which I went to is near to Abbotsbury over the border in Dorset. It was extremely muddy in the woods and I knew that the Hellebore was growing on the steep banks of a stream running through them (well, it was nine years ago). I only fell over once. Very good by my standards. Although I didn't have an exact location for the Hellebore the woods were very bare as very little else was in flower, or indeed leaf. Amazingly I found my prize and it really was on a steep slope, almost vertical in fact, therefore I couldn't get near enough to get a decent photo of it. Not that that mattered too much because unfortunately it was still in bud, so wasn't much to look at. I was still thrilled to see it though especially as I hadn't really held out much hope.

 It was growing on the far bank mostly between the two trees but also just below the bottom tree.
The slope doesn't look as steep as it was in this photo.

You get a better idea of the precipitous nature of the bank in this shot. This is as near as I could get. If I'd climbed down into the stream the plants would have been 3-4ft above my head.

Such a shame they hadn't flowered yet, they're very, very close. 
I may go back next week.

If I hadn't found them the copse would still have been worth a visit just to see this...

The ruins of an abandoned chapel, complete with alter and a couple of graves.
I bet it looks even better when the bluebells are out.

Yesterday morning I had to go to the dentists in Axminster which meant that I was more than halfway to Wootton Fitzpaine and the very rare Spring Snowflakes (Leucojum vernum) which I've visited a couple of times before. When I arrived it was actually snowing which I think was very befitting! There were quite a few less than in previous years but they were putting on a very pretty show nevertheless. This is one of only two locations in the UK where they thought to be native. They certainly look the part.

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