Woodland Picture Gallery 1 2

Bluebells, Bootlace Fungus, Bugle, Buzzard, Canopy

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Bluebells Bluebells Bootlace fungus

Bluebells carpet a woodland floor.   Bluebells are a popular sight during a few brief weeks of spring, when they carpet the woodland floor with a sea of blue fragrant flowers.  They have to flower and produce seed quickly before the emerging canopy of tree leaves reduces the light levels on the floor of the woodland.  They are able to grow using food stored in a bulb underground.

Ecological sampling of Bluebells

Bluebells are a familiar feature in the woodlands of western Britain. The bell shaped blue flowers with creamy white anthers hang from the top of a hairless, leafless, fleshy stem.  The long, narrow leaves lie close to the ground.  Pollinated by insects, bluebells in profusion are an indicator of ancient woodland.



Bluebell Image Gallery

Bootlace fungi can sometimes be seen on rotting wood.  All fungi consist of hyphae, which are microscopically thin, branching, colourless threads growing together in a large web called the   mycelium.  Some fungi, such as the Bootlace or Honey Fungus, which is a parasite of woodland trees, have hyphae collected together into long cables, called rhizomorphs. Because there are so many hyphae packed together, they are easily seen, forming black 'bootlaces'. These can spread through a woodland infecting neighboring trees.



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Bugle Buzzard Canopy

Bugle flowering in a damp meadow. A member of the mint family, Bugle is a short, upright perennial with small mauve flowers that spreads by throwing out rooting runners.  It can be seen flowering from April to July in damp meadows and woodland clearings.  It can be distinguished from other mints by the bronze tinge to its upper leaves.  Its seeds are dispersed by ants.   It has long been thought to have medicinal value, and in the past has been used to heal wounds and internal bleeding, cleanse the liver, and as a mild laxative.

A Buzzard, showing its sharp hooked bill, characteristic of predatory birds.  Majestically soaring on the thermals above the Westcountry landscape, buzzards are now a common sight. They have a wingspan of 115-130cm and are the largest of the birds of prey commonly seen in the south west of England. Their varied diet consists of small mammals such a rabbits and invertebrates like earth worms. They also eat carrion.



More on Buzzards

A Canopy of leaved branches at the tops of trees in mature woodland. Canopy usually forms in mature woodlands when the crowns (tops) of each tree spread out to form a continuous layer.  This happens as a result of each tree maximising its own ability to capture sunlight for making its food.   When in full leaf, this layer effectively absorbs much of the sunlight falling on it, and everything below it is in full or dappled shade.  This has a direct effect on all the plants and associated wildlife living underneath.  Only plants that can tolerate shade are able to grow successfully.  The canopy also has an effect on the moisture levels and the temperature below it.


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List of images in this gallery


All images copyright Offwell Woodland & Wildlife Trust