Monday, 10 August 2015

Carnivorous Bog Plants and Upland Wildflowers

A few weeks ago I went wandering looking for bog plants. I had been told there was a lot of butterwort in flower near to Watendlath Tarn. So off I went with my camera in hand to see what I could find.....

Butterwort, Pinguicula vulgaris
Butterwort is a cool carnivorous bog plant that is only in flower from around late May to August. It is easily identified by the star shaped leaves. A sticky substance is exuded from the leaves to trap insects which are then broken down by enzymes and ingested by the plant.It leaves in boggy poor nutrient habitats.

Butterwort flower close up
Out on the bog I also found cotton grass, of which there are many different species but is a great looking plant with the white tufty bits. I believe this can be quite good tinder for fire if collected and dried but I have never tried it myself.

Cotton Grass
I also saw a couple of common spotted orchids and heath milkwort dotted around in the grass.

Common Spotted Orchid, Dactylorhiza fuchsii
Heath Milkwort, Polygara vulgaris
One particular species I was pleased to see was the cross leaved heath. This is commonly mistaken with bell heather but it can be identified by the cluster of flowers at the top of the stem and by the leaves which form distinctive symmetrical 4 leaved whorls off the stem.
Cross leaved heath, Erica tetralix

Also on the bog was of course some sphagnum moss . I cannot be sure of the exact species but it is likely to be Sphagnum capillifolium. 

Sphagnum moss
 As I headed further across the bog my find of the day was the cool carnivorous plant sundew. This is probably the common form, round leaved sundew. The sundew reminds me of a venus fly trap! It also exudes a sticky substance which forms globules on the ends of hairs that look like dew.

Common Sundew, Drosera rotundifolia

Sundew with a trapped insect
As I wandered back towards the path I came across some common upland plants such as wild thyme, which has the lovely scent of thyme. There was also the common yellow plants: birds foot trefoil, a pretty yellow flower and another tormentil.

Wild thyme, Thymus polytrichus
Birds Foot Trefoil, Lotus corniculatus

Tormentil, Potentilla erecta
 Another common upland plant found close to paths and on the ground is heath bedstraw, Galium saxatile
Heath Bedstraw, Galium saxatile

So just a lovely little evening jaunt with plenty to see....

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