We drove to Reydon Wood on Friday, in search of bluebells.
We parked at the end of Wood Lane. The walk down the lane is pleasant and we get glimpses of the wood on the other side of the deep ditch on our right.
Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) is in flower everywhere.
The Romans introduced Alexanders into Britain and it is mainly found near the coast especially in the east of the country. It was used as a medicinal herb and also as a pot herb. The flowerheads can be steamed like broccoli.
Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea) is another flower that is blooming wherever I go at present.
The Anglo Saxons and Celts believed that a stitch in the side was probably caused by elf-shot and this plant cured it!
Our first sighting of Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)
Cow-parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) is coming into flower very early this year
There they are, on the far side of the ditch!
A beautiful Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna )
Bluebells and Greater Stitchwort
To the left of us as we walked up Wood Lane we could see a field full of bright yellow Oil-seed Rape (Brassica napus) through the hedge.
I believe this is Goldilocks Buttercup ( Ranunculus auricomus)
This is the first time I have taken notice of this buttercup. I have probably seen it before because I find they are fairly common in woodland, but I’ve never looked at one properly, just assuming it was a Meadow or Creeping Buttercup. The stem leaves are quite different from the other buttercups I know and I read that the flowers are usually deformed or have some or all of their petals missing.
We arrived at the entrance to the wood
This is the first time I have seen Wood Anemones ( Anemone nemorosa) here.
There were a few primroses (Primula vulgaris ) still flowering.
Common Dog Violet (Viola riviniana )
This is the most common violet we have in this country and it can be found anywhere except on very acidic soils. The leaves are heart-shaped and the spur (at the back of the flower) is much paler than the petals. This violet is unscented.
Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana )
Another unscented violet; the flowers of this plant are paler and smaller than the Common Dog Violet and the spur is usually as dark or even darker than the petals. The leaves are narrower than those of the Common Dog Violet. This isn’t a good photo but it is the best out of the three I took!
Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)
This plant could be named after St Robert of Molesme who founded Citeaux Abbey in France and who is said to have staunched wounds and healed ulcers with Herb Robert. It could also be named after Robert, Duke of Normandy, the son of William the Conqueror and a patron of medical botany. He used Herb Robert to cure the plague.
The path through the wood.
Barren Strawberry (Potentilla sterilis )
The flower here is past its best so it is not easy to see that the petals have a gap between them and that the sepals are clearly seen. The leaves (on the right of the photo) are a dull, matt green and divided into three toothed leaflets with the terminal tooth on each leaflet being smaller and shorter than the adjacent teeth.
Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca )
Here is a Wild Strawberry, which I found just a few feet away from the Barren Strawberry and you can see the difference between them. The petals are close together and mainly hide the sepals. The leaves are a bright, shiny yellow-green and the terminal tooth is as long as (sometimes longer than) the adjacent teeth.
Here is the pond in the middle of the wood. On the far side are Water Violets (Hottonia palustris )
More Water Violets – I couldn’t get a better photo of them.
Great Diving Beetle (Dytiscus marginalis )
We watched this beetle for a while as it came to the surface to gather air which it stores under its elytra or wing cases. The beetle’s spiracles (breathing pores) are under the wing cases and allow the air stored there to enter the body. When the air is used up the beetle returns to the surface for more. There were many newts in the pond too.
Yellow Pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum )
A large patch of Bugle (Ajuga reptans )
Beautiful new green leaves of Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus )
Hornbeams look a little like Beech trees but the trunks have fluted bark and the leaves are toothed. Hornbeams are regularly coppiced and Reydon Wood is a coppice wood.
A coppice tree which will probably be harvested in the next few years. The tree is probably many hundred years old.
The area just beyond this barrier has recently been coppiced and the stools (tree stumps) will be sprouting soon. The barrier has been built up using twigs and branches to stop deer from eating the new growth on the coppice stools.
Coppice stools surrounded by Bluebells and with the deer barrier in the background
A strange-looking stool which looks as though it might run off as soon as our backs are turned!
Harvested coppice logs
I believe this fungus is Dryad’s Saddle (Polyporus squamosus )
Early Purple Orchid ( Orchis mascula)
Early Purple Orchid showing its spotted leaves
Three-nerved Sandwort (Moehringia trinervia )
At first I thought this was Common Chickweed but then I noticed the petals are not split and that the sepals are longer than the petals. The leaves have three to five parallel veins on them. I didn’t manage to get a close-up shot of the plant.
Herb Robert (pink flowers) and Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea ) (Blue flowers)
Lesser Celandine, Herb Robert, Ground Ivy and Early Purple Orchid
Yellow Archangel ( Lamiastrum galeobdolon)
There is a cultivated form of this plant (subspecies ‘argentatum’) with silvery patches on the leaves which has escaped into the wild and is quite invasive.
Lesser Celandines and Bluebells
Early Purple Orchid and Bluebells
Fern and Bluebells
Bluebells and ferns
Here is a slideshow of the Bluebells we saw.
The Bluebells were not quite at their peak and as the day was overcast and chilly we didn’t smell their wonderful scent. We decided it would be a good idea for us to return in a week’s time to see how they had developed. Unfortunately, we have had very cold weather this week with frosts and wintery showers of hail and sleet. I hope the Bluebells are not too damaged. I apologise for the length of this post.
Thanks for visiting!