Nottingham Catchfly (Silene nutans), a plant first found growing all along the walls of Nottingham castle, but now no longer grows there. Dungeness is a good stronghold of this species of plant. Thriving in sparse shingle habitat, Nottingham catchfly does very well at Dungeness, and this year seems the best ever! This plant has a delightful perfume and smells strongly throughout the evening as it is a night flowering plant, attracting a whole range of moth species to feed on its sticky nectar and help pollinate the plant. Look out for the large swathes of it across our reserve, with their tall stems and slender white flowers.
Nottingham catchfly - Louise Kelly
Viper's Bugloss (Echium vulgare) is another 'wow' plant on the reserve. Our entrance track is lined with these gorgeous blue-purple flowers. Another plant that is perfect for our pollinators, nectar drips from it and attracts a wide range of bees, butterflies, hoverflies and other insects to this delicious treat. Another plant that grows well in the poor Dungeness soil, viper's bugloss is a biennial native wildflower. Viper's bugloss may have got its name from its long spotted stem, referring to 'viper' and 'bugloss' comes from the Greek meaning 'ox-tongue' and refers to its rough, tongue shaped leaves.
Viper's bugloss along our track - Louise Kelly
We also have Southern Marsh Orchids (Dactylorhiza praetermissa) at ARC again this year. These beautiful orchids thrive in coastal locations and also in wet meadows.
Marsh orchid - Angela Wood
This is the peak flowering season and I've only given you a small taste of the flowers you can see here, so come on down to Dungeness in the next week or so, and marvel in the all the colour this reserve has to offer!
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