Couldn't find the cuckoo this morning, but he'd spat liberally onto the flowers of the limestone grassland. There was dark cloud, perfect for photographing the creamy-white butterfly orchid and the cuckoo had found the flower first. Dropwort is a beauty: deep pink buds then a froth of delicate white flowers. It's white petals present a challenge to a photographer, light bounces off them. But beneath this cloud-shield I was determined to try again. I love the pattern of calyx against the pink buds. And I began to see that at certain angles the cuckoo spit caught the light and the froth of bubbles made by the frog hopper showed every one distinct. So , dropwort with cuckoo spit.
Dropwort, Filipendula vulgaris with frog hopper froth, known as cuckoo spit. Pollen on the reproductive parts of the open flower is visible, centre of image.
'Cuckoo spit can spoil the look of a plant', I read. I found it fascinating. Not least, because those bubbles only showed fleetingly as I considered different angles on the plant.
Jan Wiltshire is a writer and naturalist living in Cumbria. She take photographs.