Saturday, 23 June 2007

More Botanising and Housing Question Solved

A few days ago I posted about Common broomrape, and mentioned that they are a complex group, so I thought I would get even more confused with this Oxtongue Broom Rape.

This is a rare plant in the UK, found mainly by the edge of chalk cliffs, and so it occurs at St Margaret's and Kingsdown. It has or used to have the scientific name Orobanche picridis but some botanist now think that it is the same as a species found in southern and central Europe called Orobanche artemisiae-campestris, but this isn't universally agreed.

This is a close up of the flower spike, I always find parasitic plants fascinating, as they lack of chlorophyll and hence any green colouration, and their leaves are vestigial because they have no need of them. As it didn't get properly light today and i took these in the rain, I had to use ASA1600 to get a long enough exposure to stop the movement due to the if they are not the greatest that's my excuse.

While I was walking along the bottom of the cliff, I heard a House Martin. This raises the question of where did House Martins nest before there were houses?

Here's the answer, under ledges and overhangs on cliffs. The cliffs between St Margaret's and Kingsdown still have a small colony, despite the fact that as a species it isn't doing very well in the UK.

I'm a sucker for Pyramidal Orchids, but as there were lots along the bottom of the cliff and this one had such a perfect shape, I couldn't resist another picture.

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