This fabulous little plant is a harbinger of the autumn and the last orchid to flower. Until yesterday I had never seen it in Neath Port Talbot although Elsa Wood found it previously in Gwrhyd Meadows near Pontardawe in 1991, one of its few inland sites in Glamorgan. It is predominantly a plant of coastal, calcareous grassland in Wales – there’s a nice population on Mumbles Hill.
Mushrooms and toadstools are synonymous with autumn and yellow waxcaps are currently putting on a good show in the short turf around the energy park. There are a number of confusing yellow species. Persistent Waxcap (Hygrocybe persistens - photo below) is variable in form and similar to the Golden Waxcap (Hygrocybe chlorophana), which is a more common grassland species. The pointed projection on the cap (the umbo) is a useful diagnostic feature. The cap is quite sticky in young specimens and it often splits at the edge.
The autumn flavour was enhanced by the conspicuous bunches of berries on trees and shrubs planted around the energy park. I’ve posted a selection of photos - Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), Alder Buckthorn (Frangula alnus), Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) and Whitebeam (Sorbus aria) below. Bring on the season of 'mellow fruitfullness'!
All photos taken yesterday afternoon at Baglan Energy Park.