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Saturday, 31 July 2021

Dodder on the South Downs, Pyecombe, Sussex


This meadow on a south facing slope at Pyecombe is extremely rich in plant species even if, superficially, it looks like Ragwort dominates.  

Above, Ragwort plus St John's wort, clover, eyebright and...
Dodder, Cuscuta epithymum.
This extraordinary parasitic plant has rootless thin stems which twine over its hosts and steal nutrients from penetrating haustoria (ref: )
Lacking chlorophyll it has leaves reduced to red scales.  Flowers are in dense clusters as above.

The Pride of Sussex, a Bellflower is magnificent this year further up on Wolstonbury Hill.

Nettle-leaved Bellflower

Harebells, a Bellflower

A glorious display of Round-headed Rampion, "the pride of Sussex" our county flower.

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