Buxton Heath is a heatherland – an open habitat of low shrubs dominated by heathers and gorse with scattered trees. In the summer heathlands are a picture of purple, pink and yellow flowers.
Now is early summer. Heathers start to grow and insects start to become active.
Heathers are actually small woody shrubs. They are the most frequent plants on heaths, covering usually about 30-50cm deep. Three common heathers can be found in Buxton Heath:
ling heather (has a flowering spike of pale pink flowers)
bell heather (flowers are deep purple, bell shaped and hang downwards)
cross-leaved heather (leaves are in fours up the stem – if you look down on the stems the leaves look like a cross)
Although orchids are commonly used for decorating the home and offices, various species are easily found in heatherlands. Buxton Heath is no exception.
Sundew look attractive – bright red, but they eat insects! You cannot blame them – they live in wet bogs which have very little nutrients. Their weapons are their sticky tentacles. When an insect is stuck in their tentacles, they exude digestive enzymes and dissolve the insect.
Ragged robin has five petals deeply divided into four lobes giving the flower an untidy, ragged appearance.
The seed heads of cottongrass are covered in a fluffy mass of cotton which are carried on the wind to aid dispersal.
The yellow flowers of yellow rattle occur in spikes. After they die, brown seed pods remain. When these pods are shaken, the ripe seeds inside rattle, hence the common name.
Silver-studded blue butterfly
Silver-stubbed blue butterfly is so named due to the silvery blue metallic spots on the underside hind wings.
Damselflies are resting on the new pond made by us. We have especially added some sticks in the pond to give them more resting place. (Damselflies are similar to dragonflies, but all four wings of damselflies are near enough equal in size and shape whereas the hind wings of draonflies are usually shorter and broader than fore wings. Also, when at rest, most species of damselflies hold their wings along the length of their abdomen whereas dragonflies hold their wings out from the body, often at right angles to it.)