We've just been on an orchid hunt . . .
Next we found some beautiful spires of palest mauve speckled flowers of the Common Spotted Orchid
And on our return route we found some lovely tall stems of the Pyramidal Orchid just coming into flower.
And nearby I was thrilled to find lots of gorgeous Bee Orchids.
Close up you can see the bee-like lower petal.
Then I spotted . . . not another orchid but a Broomrape, possibly Common Broomrape, but after consulting 'A Flora of Suffolk' I found there are many species and sub-species each specific to a different host plant and particular habitat - Broomrapes are parasitic. Amazingly a Broomrape seed can seek out and attach itself to particular species of plant's root and when it detects it has found the right host, it germinates and plugs itself into the host plant's vascular system and grows a flowering stem.
This is where we were orchid hunting . . . it isn't a nature reserve, it's the 'flood-park' on the edge of Haverhill opposite a supermarket and a DIY store. The lake and marshy meadow surrounded by high embankments is a safety-valve allowing the swollen waters of the Stour Brook to be diverted by sluices and prevent flooding in the town centre.
It's worth looking for wildflowers wherever you are . . . you never know what you may find.