Betony

The first flowers of Betony (Betonica officinalis) are just coming into flower in Edford meadows.

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Rattling

rge amounts of Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor) are coming into flower in Edford meadows.  This is a annual plant that is semi parasitic on grass species, and its name becomes obvious when you listen to the ripe seed heads in the wind.

Edford Orchids

There are several types of Orchids in Edford meadows.

Common Spotted Orchid is now in flower, whilst the Green Winged Orchid are over now for the year, and the Bee Orchid are yet to appear.

Eggs and Toenails

Currently one of the most common flowering plans in Edford meadows is Bird’s-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus).

Bird’s-foot Trefoil is also know as  ‘eggs and bacon’ because of the yellow and orange hue of the pea-like flowers, or ‘Granny’s Toenails’ due to the claw-like seed pods.

Edford meadows

Just to the south east of Holcombe, behind the Concrete Works, are a series on wildflower meadows managed by the Somerset Wildlife Trust, Edford meadows.

View from near the Concrete Works entrance to Edford meadows
Edford meadows nature reserve nature reserve information board

Currently Birdsfoot Trefoil, Common Spotted Orchid and Yellow Rattle are the main species in flower.  The Green Winged Orchid are over now for the year, whilst the Bee Orchid are yet to appear.

The reserve has some loverly views south across the valley.

Cuckoo spit

The dairy farm to the east of Nettlebridge is still up for sale, and hence the fields are ungrazed and the grass now very long.  The steeper slopes of these fields are covered in sheets of Buttercups.

Large patch of Buttercups on the slopes of an ungrazed field
Large patch of Buttercups on the slopes of an ungrazed field

I noticed today that most stems of the Buttercups have Cuckoo spit on them, not sure I have seen such a bit concentration before.

Cuckoo spit is a white frothy liquid secreted by the nymphs of a sap-sucking insect known as a Froghopper.  Each ball of froth contains a light insect nymph around 5mm long.  Needless to say the froth has no connection with Cuckoos.

Thief! Parasite!

The north facing steep meadow slope to the north of Fariry Cave Quarry is a SSSI.  It has some interesting meadow species, including Lousewort which is in flower now.

Lousewort (Pedicularis sylvatica)  is a semi-parasite, stealing food and water from nearby plants.  There are many low clumps of Lousewort on these stepped steep slopes.