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Showing posts from June, 2020

Perfoliate alexanders

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Early on in lockdown a lady phoned to ask if I could help to identify a plant from some photos. I recognised the odd-looking yellow-green umbellifers as perfoliate alexanders (spelled here with a low case A despite the name coming from the Egyptian port of Alexandria).
Perfoliate alexanders is a flower I hadn’t seen in the form shown here, though it is similar to a flower I know from Crete. More of that later.
The photos had been taken by Roger Jones, and I know Roger & Jenny well. They live not far away and often come on the guided walks at NWT Thorpe Marshes, contributing their knowledge and enthusiasm there and, like me, on the NWT’s blog and elsewhere.
Roger had photographed the perfoliate alexanders near the River Wensum in central Norwich, not far from picturesque Pull’s Ferry. Armed with a name, he quickly tracked some other records by experience botanists in a national database. One of those noted that the plants had been removed. I expect that is because this species is clas…

Bee orchids bonus in lockdown

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I admit to being less optimistic than usual when I looked for bee orchids by Big Yellow Self Storage on Canary Way in central Norwich. This year is the 12thseason that I’ve kept tabs on this at first sight rather unpromising piece of rough grassland opposite Norwich City FC’s football ground.

Pessimism soon turned to delight. There they were, and after several attempts to count them I can confirm 19 flowering spikes of bee orchids showing on 11th June 2020. That’s not as many as last year but more than the year before. My initial doubts were for two reasons. One is that I’d noticed that the grass and flowers had been cut around the end of April and again more recently. It turns out this was an oversight during lockdown. The second thing was this year’s unusual weather – the sunniest and driest May on record for England. Bee orchids can often be a bit hit and miss, and in dry conditions far fewer blooms are likely.
The original group of bee orchids were on the south side of Big Yellow’s w…