Bo’mains Meadow, Bo’ness
Bo'mains Meadow is a small meadow with a fantastic range of wildflowers that can be seen in the summer. Greater butterfly orchid and common spotted orchid are among the highlights (see 'Species to spot' below). The ‘Bo’ component of the name is an abridged version of local town, Borrowstounness. ‘Mains’ is a Scottish term for the principle farm on an estate.
How to get there
From Bo'ness, take the A706 south towards Linlithgow. Turn right onto a minor road at the first crossroads beyond the town. Take the first right (after 0.6 miles) onto another minor road. The meadow is on the right of the road and is accessed from the roadside. Go through the field gate onto the reserve, where an informal path leads around its perimeter.
Species to spot
Greater butterfly orchid
Best time to see: June - July
Despite its name this dainty flower is largely pollinated by moths, attracted by a vanilla scent that grows stronger at night. The lesser butterfly orchid looks very alike - the main difference the size and position of its pollen sacs.
Best time to see: May - Sept.
A semi-parasitic flower, that feeds off nutrients in nearby grass roots. In doing so it helps restrict the vigorous grasses, allowing more delicate wildflowers to emerge. Its 'rattle' is from tiny seeds in their pods.
Best time to see: April - Aug.
A favourite of farmers and cattle alike: its roots fix nitrogen from the air making the soil more fertile and its protein-rich seeds are a good source of food when mixed in hay. Image © Plantlife/Andrew Gagg.