Between Two Habitats
As we cross this pathway we are almost on a transition between two habitats. To the west we have the cutover bog dominated by plants that thrive in acidic nutrient poor conditions. To the east and up the hill we are looking at an acid marsh which is dominated by rushes, sedges and grasses. Two flowers that grow in profusion on this flush are Lady’s Smock and Devil’s Bit Scabious. Lady’s Smock has delicate lilac coloured flowers which adorn the area from May and it is the most important food plant for the caterpillars of the Orange Tip Butterfly, while its flowers are important for many butterfly and insect species.
The Devil’s Bit Scabious is hugely important in late summer and early autumn period as its blue/purple globulous flowers are very rich in nectar. The plant is also important food plant for the delicate Marsh Fritillary Caterpillar and the exclusive food plant of many other beetle and sawfly species. In the past Scabious was an important medicinal herb traditionally used as a cure for skin conditions such as scabies and scrofula. The globulus blue/purple flowers of Scabious also offer a late summer nectar and pollen feast for many of our insects.