Fringed Gentian was feared to be extinct in the UK having failed to show it's head for 9 years. This year however the weather conditions seems to have benefitted many species (after a delayed spring!) and this enigmatic species has popped up again at it's old site! News has quickly spread in the botanic community and precise location details were obtained.
Stuart Read and I planned a trip for Friday and were joined by Jeff Higgot who ended up driving. It proved to be a very good day indeed with several species seen at a relaxed pace. Obviously Fringed Gentian was our first port of call and 3 plants were seen, albeit one had well and truly gone over (brown!). The other 2 were in good nick though and we filled our boots.
Next up it was onto another gentian Chiltern Gentian to complete what Stuart had dubbed a 'gentian double whammy'! We found hundreds at the site we visited, most had gone well past their best but it wasn't hard to find some nice ones that showed their subtle id features well. Also there we had Carline Thistle, Dwarf Thistle, Yellow Wort, Quaking Grass, Wild Marjoram and a 'gone to seed' Common Spotted Orchid. Into the bargain 30+ Red Kites circled overhead and we had a female Adonis Blue presumably one of the last of the year.
Our third and final site before heading home was a lowland acid heath. Once again with directions we found an almost dried up pool and our other big target for the day - the mega rare Starfruit. Despite hearing they had finished flowering we would have been happy seeing the distinctive star-shaped seed capsules but as luck would have it one plant had a flower on it! Around the same pool were Lesser Spearwort, Water Purslane, Marsh Cudweed and Dwarf Gorse providing more than one more 'tick' for yours truly!