Friday, 10 June 2011

Rattlingly Good

Two small, but rather beautiful plants today.  The first being a semi-parasitic plant and coming into flower right now around these parts.  This is the Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor).  Yellow Rattle takes some of it's nutrients from the roots of other plants.  This may seem to be a bad thing for it's neighbours, but it has been shown to be an extremely beneficial part of a meadow's ecology.  By feeding on and therefore keeping down the growth of grasses, it allows other meadow flower species to get a 'foothold' and flourish.
Secondly, another orchid species in flower now.  The Southern Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa) is a close relative of the Common Spotted Orchid which I mentioned the other day.  The flowers of this one are slightly darker but just as beautiful.
Lastly for today is a familiar plant and one which is cultivated in many gardens throughout the country.  Common Privet is well known as a hedging plant but there are a few growing wild in these parts and these are flowering now too.  Highly scented, you are made aware of their presence before you see them, especially on a hot day when the scent fills the air.
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