Sunday, 4 December 2016

Wildflowers in West Dorset

I'm back! I've been meaning to get some stuff on here for ages but once the wildflower season was over I got heavily into fungi so I've been out searching for those too. The fungi season is now also drawing to a close and so at last I will get some time to sort through my thousands of plant and insect photos (there are a few bird ones in there too, mostly from a couple of trips to Scotland) and get posting! There wont be any particular order to the posts, and they will mainly be lumped by geographical area as that's the easiest way I've found to sort them. There are just too many individual days out and excursions to post each separately.

These wildflowers were seen in May/June, fairly locally in the West Dorset area, Near Dorchester and Abbotsbury.

These Bee Orchids were on a road verge near to Dorchester. They aren't ordinary Bee orchids though they are of a rare variety named badensis (previously friburgensis). It differs from the standard form in having pink sepaloid petals.

 This is variety badensis as it has a normal rounded and curled under lip whereas friburgensis has a flattened more pointed lip. Well I think so? The varieties can get quite complicated.
It's very pretty whatever it's called!

  Bee Orchid - Ophrys apifera var. badensis

Bitter Vetch - Lathyrus linifolius

Honey Garlic is naturalised in the Abbotsbury area.

Honey Garlic - Nectaroscordum siculum

The 'nationally scarce' Sea Pea is locally abundant on Chesil beach as here at Abbotsbury. 

Sea Pea - Lathyrus japonicus  

I've been wanting to see this amazing plant for years and finally did on this hillside near Abbotsbury. I like everything about it, it looks weird, smells awful and feels revolting! 

It's the deadly poisonous Henbane.
It has a very unusual smell which reminded me of horse sweat and it is covered in a dense layer of sticky hairs. Apparently the smell of the flowers alone can cause dizziness due to the cocktail of poisons it contains. 

 The flowers look beautiful yet sinister and the sticky hairs can trap hapless insects as can be seen here. One of the best plants I've seen this year. There aren't that many plants I'm reluctant to leave but this was one of them. I spent so long sitting next to them admiring them that I began to feel a bit light headed and very thirsty, they really are that noxious!

HenbaneHyoscyamus niger


Gavin Haig said...

Ah, good to have you back, Karen...

Andrew Cunningham said...

That Henbane is a cracker, hopefully I will see one some time.

Steve Gale said...

I always look forward to your posts Karen, so I'm in for a treat...

Ian Andrews said...

Very pleased to see you back and glad to see you found the bee orchids... hopefully I'll find the fly-bees as easily. I thought they were a pretty poor show this year. Henbane pics are superb and I can feel a hilly walk in Abbottsbury coming on.