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Friday, 30 April 2010

Toothwort; a mysterious parasitic plant

Three days ago, on the blog entry below, I searched under every hazel bush for 9 miles on the Sussex Border Path looking for Toothwort -- all to no avail.
Today we found it in The Long Plantation at grid reference TQ 146/ 268563 to 268564.  It is about 35 minutes walk from Kingswood Train Station in case you want to see it.

 In the foreground are the Toothwort flowers conveniently growing right next to the public footpath.
In Yorkshire this plant was known as Corpse flower.
The plant is parasitic on Hazel, spent catkins of which can be seen above for size comparison.

The flowers have protruding stigmas, which were doubtless fertilised by this bubble bee which sampled each flower in turn.
For pictures from last year click here
There is another Toothwort species to be seen near the Loder Valley Nature Reserve. Click here for pictures of that one, which we should find on a Mid Sussex Ramblers' walk later this month.

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