At Ditchling Beacon you can see pockets of flower rich chalk grassland with many common orchids. However, the Beacon has two rarities of note – the musk orchid and marsh fragrant orchid.
The musk orchid, only found in the south of England, can be hard to spot, growing just 7.5cm tall with a limey green colour. It is best looked for in July, where it may be seen on tightly grazed patches, often rabbit grazed land. Despite its name, this orchid is more honey-scented and does not smell of musk.The marsh fragrant orchid on the other hand is a much blowsier more colourful plant, dark pink in colour. It can be found on the northerly scarp slopes of the Beacon where moisture holds in the ground for longer. Related to the fragrant orchid, it can grow to 70 cm tall and is best seen late June to August.
green hairstreak / Derek Middleton