BBOWT’s Homefield Wood reserve is perhaps best known for its range of orchid species. Listed roughly in order of flowering through the season, they are:
Early-purple, Military, Common Twayblade, Bird’s-nest, Greater Butterfly, White Helleborine, Fly, Bee, Common Spotted, Fragrant, Pyramidal, Broad-leaved Helleborine, Violet Helleborine.
It is the Military Orchid that attracts the greatest attention, with visitor numbers peaking around the end of May Bank Holliday. However, a few weeks earlier there is usually a glorious display of Primroses and Cowslips, with a few of their hybrid, the False Oxlip. By June and into July and beyond the floral display comes from Oxeye Daisies, Knapweeds, Scabious, Bellflowers, Bedstraws, Vetches, Restharrow, St John’s Wort and Marjoram. Less obvious in the sward, but worth looking for, are Fairy Flax, Eyebright, Red Bartsia, Rockrose and Yellow Rattle. One of the grassland areas has a display of the yellow, Dandelion-like Hawkbits, which at its peak compares with the earlier display of primroses, followed by masses of dirty-brown seed heads. Rosebay Willowherb gives a colourful display, and is very popular with bees and other insects, but can be rather invasive. It is one of the species that we actively try and control. The season finale is provided by Chiltern Gentian, usually in flower from late August or Early September.