Thankfully it was somewhat warmer today, so after a bit of admin, I spent a couple of hours renovating a flower bed in the front garden. While I was having a short break on our garden bench I watched five buzzards flying over, one really quite low. Although we see them quite regularly, I've never seen five at once from the garden!
In the afternoon I went up to Old Sulehay Forest to see if the toothwort was flowering. I've never seen the paths so muddy - it was a veritable quagmire - so I only had rather a short walk. Luckily the toothwort was quite easy to find at the base of a hazel coppice stool, and was in good shape, though a bit mud-splashed. For those who haven't come across this species before, I've copied some notes on it from Kew Science.
"Toothwort is a parasitic plant living on the roots of a range of woody plants, on which it is dependent for its nutrition. It is most commonly found parasitising hazel (Corylus), but can also be found on other plants including elm (Ulmus), ash (Fraxinus), alder (Alnus), walnut (Juglans) and beech (Fagus). It belongs to the broomrape family (Orobanchaceae).
The generic name Lathraea comes from the Greek word lathraios, meaning secret, referring to the fact that toothwort spends much of its life cycle hidden underground.
The specific epithet squamaria means ‘with scales’ in Latin, referring to its scale-like leaves. The common name toothwort is thought by some to derive from the resemblance of the flowering and fruiting spikes to rows of teeth. Others consider the name to refer to the rows of fleshy, scale-like leaves on the underground stems, thought to resemble pointed teeth."