They're nationally scarce plants and were a real thrill to discover. They flower for a short time between mid July and early August - the flowers have opened a lot since I was last there a week ago and I could see they were starting to go over already.
|The largest plant I saw - most were considerably smaller|
They were growing in the shade of the beech trees where not very much else was growing. Each plant seemed to be close to one of the beech trees.
As I was groveling around in leaf litter and the beech masts, trying to get some photos of the helleborines, I noticed a strange looking yellow thing next to me. It was tiny (maybe 3-4cm tall) and looked almost waxy. At first I thought it might be a fungus that had popped up after all the rain on Sunday.
Then I looked around and found a few more that were flowering. I found 12 in total, some of which had gone to seed (which I think is the case of the first one I saw). I believe these were yellow bird's nests, which have no chlorophyll, living off a fungus instead of using photosynthesis. I don't think they're as scarce as the narrow-lipped helleborines, but still quite rare and a first for me. A lovely surprise to find them growing in amongst the helleborines!
|The flowers are going over and the seed heads are developing|