Early-purple Orchid (Orchis mascula)
24th April 2012, Balls Wood, Hertfordshire, UK.
Today the morning rain cleared up and the afternoon seemed brighter. So having failed to visit Balls Wood yesterday afternoon when the weather was foul, I tried again today. Soon after I arrived the sun came out, but this didn't make up for the conditions underfoot - almost everywhere was mud, and most of it was thick and sticky. It was really quite unpleasant.
I followed the footpath around the edge of the southern part of the wood and suddenly spotted two purple spikes quite close together. Another, single, specimen stood a few yards away. But that was it, just three plants. I trudged on and completed my round trip, but I saw no more E-pOs. Maybe there are no more, but such a tiny colony in an area the size of Balls Wood was disappointing.