Spring Flowers

Friday, April 17th 2020

The Wednesday Group of volunteers are usually very busy during April as spring unfolds at Foxglove.  We decided that during our time out from our homes for exercise that we would record the flowers that we saw.  They had to pass the 'flower test'!  They had to be in flower, no buds only allowed.  We live in different areas but it was interesting to find that many of the flowers we recorded were also found in Foxglove.

Primroses are in flower and recorded by several people.  The banks of Risedale Beck are covered in the beautiful pale yellow flowers.

Common Dog Violet always gives a lovely show of purple.  The markings on the lower petals are a 'honey guide' for insects, ensuring that they take the right path to the nectar and in so doing get covered in pollen.

Blackthorn flowers have covered the hedges in south County Durham for several weeks but have only now appeared at Foxglove.  It was also recorded by one volunteer around Richmond.

Forget-me-nots are not the easiest group of flowers to identify.  Flower books and hand lens are often needed to ensure the correct ID.

Jack-by-the Hedge or Garlic Mustard (crush a leaf and it will smell of garlic) can be seen growing in profusion along hedgerows, but at Foxglove it is quite a rare flower.  Orange Tip butterflies lay only one egg per plant, as the caterpillars eat the seed pods.

One flower photographed not too far from Foxglove is Wild Pansy.  This does not grow anywhere on the reserve as we do not have the habitat that it prefers.

Not a flower but reliant on them is the Bee Fly.  It is very difficult to photograph as it rarely stays still, but after several of the volunteers had sent in records, Janet was the first to get a decent photo!  Its long proboscis enables it to find the nectar in Primroses and violets.  It searches for nests of bumble bees and flicks its eggs into the entrance where the larvae hatch and feed on the larvae of the host bee.

Thank you to everyone who took part in the 'flower walk' and sent in photos.

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