Wildlife to watch in June
The high flower stems are only produced in the plant's second year and can be seen between June and September. Foxgloves can be found in woodlands, gardens, on moorlands, coastal cliffs, roadside verges and waste ground. These are usually pink, but white variants are also occasionally seen. This plant is poisonous, so treat with caution.
There are a number of explanations offered for the name 'foxglove'. It is said that it was originally named 'folk's love' meaning the fairies loved the way the flowers point downwards as it gives them a place to shelter. As home to the fairies, children were told it was bad luck to disturb the plant as this would lead to the fairies being homeless.
Also look out for
Elder is a tree which flowers in June with flat topped clusters of tiny, white scented flowers. In autumn, after flowering, the dark purple berries hang in large clusters. The leaves are made up of five or seven serrated leaflets, and have a distinctive smell. The clusters of white flowers are pollinated by insects, especially hoverflies.
While the flowers can be used for cordials and wines, and the berries for compotes and juices, the rest of the plant is mildly toxic. It has been traditionally used for medicinal purposes throughout Europe, treating a wide variety of illnesses and maladies.
As the name suggests, this is the most common UK orchid species. You can see it flowering from now until August in woodland and damp grassland especially Dunmow Cutting. The flowers bloom in clusters from a central spike, which can grow up to 60cm tall. They can be white or range from shades of pale pinks and purples to deeper shades. Both the leaves and petals are covered in purple spots.
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