As promised, part 2 of the summer ‘brollies’ now flowering around our reserves. Just to recap, the Carrot Family or the Umbelliferae family (now known as Apiaceae) are plants easily identified by the umbrella shaped arrangement of their flowers. However, umbelliferae flowers can look confusingly alike at first. The photos below will assist you in sorting your parsleys from your hemlocks as you wander around the Radipole and Lodmoor paths.
Hedge Parsley is a medium tall grey-green plant which can grow up to 200cm (6’). Leaves are triangular and sharply cut. The flowers are white or pink and the fruits are purple with hooked spines. The flowering time is from July – August. Found along hedge banks and woodland edges. Hedge parsley grows along the footpaths on the Buddleia Loop.
Hemlock can grow up to 200cm (6’) in height and is easily identified by the purple-blotched stems and soft fine fern like leaves. Flowers are white in umbels 20-60cm (8-24”) wide and have an unpleasant smell when crushed. Flowering from June – August, Hemlock can be found in damp places by roads, streams and waysides, by water near the Visitor Centre, on riverbanks in the car park and on Beachdown Way at Lodmoor. POISONOUS: all plant parts are highly toxic and can paralyse the respiratory system.
A bushy hairless biennial plant with many branches stems can grow up to 100cm (40”). The leaflets are lobed, toothed and have a mixture of petrol and nutmeg smell when crushed. Small white flowers appear in July – August. The plant often turns purple when going over. Found in hedgerows and verges. There are several plants by the gate on the footpath to the North Hide.
This is a tall stout purple flushed perennial up to 200cm (6’) tall. The leaves are triangular with many sharp-toothed leaflets. The unpleasant smelling flowers are white or pink with petals that curve inwards. Flowering from June – September in damp woods, meadows and by stream banks and can be seen by the footpaths around the reserves.
This plant is a branched perennial up to 100cm (40”). The stems are ridged with divided feathery leaves. The flowers are white commonly with a central red-purple floret. The fruiting head folds in concaving on itself. It flowers in June – August in grassy places. Plants can be seen growing by the footpaths on both reserves.
A biennial plant up to 200cm (6’) tall with roughly hairy stems, pinnate leaves with broad leaflets and yellow umbels up to 10cm across. There is a pungent smell of parsnip when crushed. It flowers from June – September on bare waste grassy places and waysides. Wild Parsnip can be seen growing by the footpaths on both reserves. POISONOUS: Sap can irritate skin.
Yarrow is often mistaken for an umbelliferae but it is in fact a member of the Daisy Family. The feathery leaves have tiny pinnate leaflets and the white, or sometimes pink, flowers are in a flat umbel like head. The plant is strongly aromatic. Yarrow flowers from June – December and grow on the grassy areas along the footpaths.
The mild winter and warm spring this year have provided us with a bumper crop fp our orchids.
This year there were 21 Bee Orchids at Radipole and a Lodmoor record of 11. Our last bumper crop was 32 Bee Orchids, which occurred in 2009.
Common Spotted Orchids have done very well this year over on Lodmoor where a record 83 were counted on the path near the viewing shelter. The previous record was 49 in 2010. At Radipole, 2 were found on the Buddleia Loop
There was also a new record count for the Pyramidal Orchids with 19 counted on the path to the North Hide. The previous record was 12 in 2009. A small group of 3 Pyramidals were also found at Lodmoor for the first time this year.
This year the count for Southern March Orchids around Radipole was 50. The last bumper year was 170 orchids counted in 2009.