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Friday, 21 May 2010

Broomrape and Early-purple Orchids on 7 miles Loder valley circular walk.

Starting from Wakehurst, where we obtained entry tickets for the Loder valley, it was a pleasure to see this toothwort, Lathraea clandestina from the Broomrape family, flowering near the bridge over the Loder valley lake.
It produces no green chlorophyll and is parasitic on tree roots such as hazel.  You can only see it when it flowers and pushes its flowers above ground.
It looks like bumble bees, Bombus terrestris are happy to pollinate it.  Click on any picture to expand it.

The group from this Mid Sussex Ramblers' walk in the Loder valley, lead by me.
Passing a fine line of pines.

There are great views to Chanctonbury hill from this vantage point.

Lunch was taken at the water's edge where one could watch fish swimming and splashing about.  The above picture was taken with a polarising filter so you can clearly see the fish.
 Heading towards Little Strudgate Farm.

 There were some fine (wood?) spurge by the roadside.

Before Newhouse Farm, there were some splendid Early-purple Orchids in the roadside verge.
They did smell awful in contrast with those of some weeks ago.  The speculation is that the smell changes once the flowers are pollinated.  A UV filter was used for these pictures in the vain hope of getting a better colour representation.  It was to no avail.  The flowers are more red than these pictures show.  Come back Kodachrome film -- all is forgiven.

Passing this beautiful wood, we entered the final "down-and-up" of this walk, which is somewhat more energetic that its 7 miles suggest because of the many hills.

It was a lovely walk in perfect weather.

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