Sunday, 20 April 2014

For the love of tiny things...

Many botanists are fascinated by showy flowers such as orchids - but what I really love are tiny flowers - and if they're blue that's even better. Now's the best time of year for these botanical miniatures, most of which are spring ephemerals growing in parched habitats. These annual species germinate in the autumn, flower in spring while there is still moisture in the soil, set seed and then shrivel to nothing under the heat of the summer sun.

This species is a particular favourite of mine. Early forget-me-not Myosotis ramosissima is a perfect miniature version of its more robust cousins, but its flowers rarely exceed 2mm across. We found sheets of it it in a disused sand pit in Lincolnshire, which is now a nature reserve.

We had been planning to visit Careby Wood, which is owned by the Forestry Authority, and shown on the most recent OS maps as Open Access land. But when you arrive at the supposed access point, there's no obvious track leading to the wood, and the only available path runs straight through the West Glen River, which was deep enough to require wellies to cross it.  We had to admit defeat, and despite further study of Google Earth I still have no idea how to get to it, as there are no public rights of way leading there. It seems very odd to have Open Access land which is inaccessible!!

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