Monday, 6 June 2022

Ribbit

Two weeks ago I deliberately went searching for a plant that I have never seen before: Frog Orchid. I was acting on a tip-off, but knew it was probably too early and predictably failed. Still, at least I got a feel for the site. Back again this evening.

Many more orchids in flower than a fortnight back...

A good few Common Spotted Orchids, mostly in the early stages, like this one

The pretty little Heath Spotted Orchids seemed more advanced

There were also some Marsh Orchids (presumably Southern Marsh) but I didn't come across them until the light was too poor for pics.

I'm not quite sure how I managed to spot it, but somehow this utterly inconspicuous green thing caught my eye...

That plant in the middle there.

Maybe it was the strappy leaf that I picked up on? Whatever, a close look revealed a tight little bunch of flower buds, and some more strappy leaves lower down. Could this be a Frog Orchid? I took some more photos...

A little bit of purpleness coming through on those buds...

I'll be honest, I was well impressed with my plant-spotting skills. I was pretty sure this must be a Frog Orchid, so made a mental note of its location and pressed on, scanning back and forth intently for another. With nothing more to show for my efforts fifteen minutes later, I felt the need for another dose of self-congratulation, so returned to the scene of triumph. Crouching to look at my prize, I suddenly noticed a plant less than a foot away....

Frog Orchid!

How on earth had I failed to see it earlier? I must have spent at least a couple of minutes taking photos of the diddy little green one, yet here was a pukka Frog Orchid flower spike barely a hand's breadth away.

A bit more obvious from this angle.

Just for fun, the photo below illustrates the view from my eye level. Frog Orchids are not obvious! Well done if you spot them both. Skip to the end of this post for the big reveal.

Both Frog Orchids are in this pic

So, that was it. An evening spent in the quest for a local plant tick. Not so long ago, if you had suggested that June 2022 would see me indulging in this kind of behaviour, I would have laughed at such a preposterous notion. And yet here we are.

And I fear it is going to get worse...

 

 

4 comments:

  1. Hi Gav - another great post. Orchids can be so hard to find sometimes and this post illustrates that beautifully. Kev and I were given a rough location of some Frog Orchids on Martin Down last summer. We spent what felt like hours, in blazing heat, looking for some supposedly tiny spikes on short turf. Needless to say we never found them, which was hugely disappointing. Kev is extremely sharp-eyed but even he had to admit defeat! Thankfully we caught up with some on the Somerset levels a short while later - lovely plants. The challenge now is to find Frog Orchid in Devon which I feel is highly unlikely. All the best. Matt.

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    1. Hi Matt, great to hear from you. I do remember your hunt for Frog Orchids last year, and I certainly didn't appreciate what a challenge it is to find them! Thankfully I had been told roughly where to look, but even so... 😄
      I'm not sure what other less-common orchid species I have locally, though I do know that Bird's Nest Orchid is found somewhere in the woodland of Powerstock Common. Anyway, it is terrific to have so much quality habitat on the doorstep, and I foresee a long summer of trying to learn a few of its plants. 😊

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  2. A challenge I am yet to embark upon. A tad early yet up here. I have a rough location. Good job I recently purchased some knee pads....

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    1. All the best with it. Lovely little plant, and well pleased I made the effort.

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