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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Wed 24th June 2015 - Arreton Down, Arreton. GG # 590.

Carrie's Photographs.

Mark's Photographs.

Bee Orchid.

Our run of GG sessions involving the Pulling of Pesky Plants (PPP) continued with Ragwort pulling on Arreton down this Wednesday morning. For the majority of GG members, getting to the work site consisted of parking down in the village and a considerable workout to climb up the side of the down! Lots of puffing and panting later…… everyone assembled for a chat about where we would be working and the perils of inadvertently pulling wild parsnip. This looks very similar to ragwort but the sap gives a nasty skin rash which we were told was very painful. So, kitted out with gloves, forks and collection bags, we were soon strung out along the down side in search of the dreaded ragwort plants. Although a considerable amount were pulled, it was far less than we collected here on previous years, so perhaps we are finally managing to control it? The variety go butterflies spotted plus the likes of pyramidal orchids around makes this area very special indeed. Add in the excellent views across the Island and a nice sunny day - what a perfect venue for a GG session.

Carrie's Nature Find.

This week’s find was the beautiful Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis Pyramidalis) - this stunning flower was chosen as the County Flower of the Isle of Wight in 2008, where it abounds on our extensive chalk landscape. Like many orchids, it requires a specific fungus to be present in the soil in order to bloom.
It reaches on average about 10-25 centimetres in height, with an erect and unbranched stem.  The arrangement of hermaphroditic flowers in a compact pyramidal shape is very distinctive, and gives the orchid its common name. The colour varies from pink to purple, or rarely white, and the scent is described as "foxy".
Originally a flower of chalk and limestone grasslands, the pyramidal orchid has shown a liking for more artificial environments in recent times. Colonies have appeared along motorways and ring-roads, canals, marinas and even at one time at Stansted airport.

Many thanks to to Carrie and Mark for the photographs and to Carrie for her Nature Find.

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