Friday, 4 July 2008

Dry at first, wet later

There was an opportunity to enjoy both the dry and the wet lands in one day - firstly a glorious downland bank at Lullingstone, where John and Greenie had described seeing Dark Green Fritillaries.
Sure enough, there were about 20 of these large butterflies flying over and through grass stems. The only time they settled, they worked their way to the base of the vegetaion and crawled through it, rather than displaying themselves for easy photo-opportunities.

This may be the actual Grass Vetchling or 'Crimson Shoe' photographed by John. But I'm perplexed by this following plant - any ideas?
Later, I stopped for a long-overdue visit to Hothfield Common, where the sandy boggy soil hosts a very different array of natural life.
Bog Asphodel....that's the first time I've even written or typed the work 'Asphodel'. Pleasing.
Here it grows with Cotton Grass and Heath Spotted Orchids. Unfortunately I couldn't see any Sundews, so I'll have to return.
The Asphodel Meadows of Greek mythology were where the 'ordinary and indifferent' people stayed after death, on the far side of the river Styx. These people were not good enough for the Elysian Fields, but not bad enough for Tartarus, or hell.
This pony seemed as though it was guarding the way across the Styx - or, to mix myths, it was Little John challenging Robin Hood.

Heath Spotted Orchid



Charlie said...

Ah, I'd photographed a grass vetchling here in Firle a few weeks ago, and hadn't a clue what it was. Was going to ask you! And now the mystery is solved, thanks Steve. :-)

Mary said...

Is that normal butterfly activity to get down to the base of the vegetation and crawl around?? I've never seen butterflies do that. I like that mystery plant and hope you find out what it is. The Bog Asphodel is pretty, too. I think the pony makes a good Little John, but how will he hold a staff to fight with? The Spotted Orchid is beautiful and looks like little purple dressed angels or ladies. Great post!

Greenie said...

Glad you got to Lullingstone Orchid Bank , a little past its best now but still beautiful . My theory on the DGFs in the grass is that the females emerge from the base of plants , and it is the best chance for a male to be first to mate .
From this distance your " mystery plant " looks like one of the Broomrapes . They are parasitic on the roots of their host , and usually take their host's name too , e,g, Thistle Broomrape .
Once again , enjoyed the read and pictures .

abbey meadows said...

The mystery plant looks like Large trefoil (trifolium aureum) but i'm not too sure about the ribbed petals. Great post

Kingsdowner said...

Thanks for help on the ID - it seems to be a Large Hop Trefoil, except in white (trifolium aureum indicates the usual colour).