I'll stop now but you get the idea.
Lady Orchid - Orchis purpurea
Not only does Denge Wood have a profusion of these beautiful orchids it also has this little beauty...
Duke of Burgundy - Hamearis lucina
In a fleeting visit to Yockletts Bank we saw more Lady Orchids and some nice Fly Orchids too.
Fly Orchid - Ophrys insectifera
Darland Banks at Gillingham is well known for its Man Orchids and rightly so, there were hundreds of them and again surprisingly variable in colour and size.
Little and large.
Man Orchid - Orchis anthropophora
There was also a lovely swathe of Sanfoin
Sanfoin - Onobrychis viciifolia
We made two visits to Parkgate Down for Monkey Orchid on the first visit in mid May they were mainly in bud with just one or two flowers unfurling. On the second visit in late May they were spectacular!
Mid May and the first couple of monkeys are unfurling. Eleven days later the same plant looked like this...
Monkey Orchid - Orchis simia
Final orchid of the trip was Late Spider Orchid on the downs above Folkestone
Late Spider Orchid - Ophrys fuciflora
It wasn't all orchids either. During the mid May trip we visited Sandwich Bay where I was hoping to see the rare Bedstraw Broomrape. The ground was parched and the plants looked to be very stunted. I was surprised to see that they were all different colours and it would be easy to think that they weren't all the same species if it wasn't for their distinctive smell. Because of this they are also known as Clove-scented Broomrape. They were very fragrant but I would say they smelt more like oriental lilies than cloves, they certainly didn't remind me of the dentists which smelling cloves usually does!
This pinkish-white is the most common colour but it also comes in...
Even the stigma lobes are yellow and not the usual purple.
Bedstraw Broomrape - Orobanche caryophyllacea
While in the area a quick visit to West Malling was called for to see Malling Toadflax an introduced plant from southwest Europe which as been growing on the same wall since 1880.
Here seen growing with a nice specimen of the fern Wall Rue
Malling Toadflax - Chaenorhinum origanifolium
Along a roadside verge just outside of Maidstone we stopped to look for White Ramping Fumitory which had been seen by Kent blogging botanist, Dave a week or so previously and he'd kindly given us the directions. The plants are of the rarer subspecies Fumaria capreolata ssp. capreolata in which a pink stripe develops as the flower ages. It is probably a casual at this site as there were quite a few non-natives on the same verge.
White Ramping Fumitory - Fumaria capreolata ssp. capreolata
We also spent quite a bit of time searching for rare 'arable weeds', always very rewarding to find in these days off intensive agriculture. The first one again thanks to Dave who found a veritable 'field full' of it near to his home in Longfield.
Dense-flowered Fumitory - Fumaria densiflora
At Ranscombe Farm we found another rare Fumitory
Fine-leaved Fumitory - Fumaria parviflora
Another nice find here and totally unexpected was Crimson Clover -Trifolium incarnatum ssp. incarnatum, a former fodder crop and now an uncommon casual in the wild.
Crimson Clover - Trifolium incarnatum ssp. incarnatum
Finally on the edge of a pea field near Borstal we found Field Gromwell.
Field Gromwell - Lithospermum arvense