Sunday 27 September 2015

A few late-season wild flowers

Frog Rush in VC55
Image: G. Hall
Although the season is nearly over, botanists have still been finding interesting plants in flower during the past few weeks - and a few oddities! Some rarities have been recorded but people are also enjoying finding out which of the more common species are still in flower.

A quick glance through the list of blogs by BSBI members (below right) shows that Stephen Bungard on Skye found an unusual specimen of Equisetum fluviatile (Water Horsetail), with mildew on alternate segments. 

Click here to see Stephen's photograph of the strange Horsetail and please leave a comment below if you can help Stephen who is "trying to work out how that comes about". Maybe he should consult Oli Ellingham about the mildew?

Saw-wort in Breconshire
Image courtesy of John Crellin
Ambroise Baker spotted Senecio inaequidens (Narrow-leaved Ragwort) on railway tracks near Doncaster last month and says "Keep your eyes peeled as it is likely to be under-recorded". In VC55 Leicestershire & Rutland, a second county record of Juncus ranarius (Frog Rush) was confirmed by Tom Cope at Kew, who said "The species seems to be on the march across the country". Another one to watch out for?

Guardian Country Diary columnist Phil Gates (a BSBI member) reported Viola lutea (Mountain Pansy) still in flower in Teesdale.

 Nevil's Wild Life blog notes Cirsium arvense (Creeping Thistle) still in flower in Sussex and John Crellin notes Succisa pratensis (Devil's-bit Scabious) and Serratula tinctoria (Saw-wort) flowering in Breconshire

Further south in Wales, the Gower Wildlife blog reports  Hypericum humifusum (Trailing St. John's-wort) in flower earlier this month. 

Salicornia x marshallii in Co. Wexford
Image: P. Green
A few weeks ago in Montgomeryshire, BSBI's Welsh Officer Polly Spencer-Vellacott found Rumex maritimus (Golden Dock) - a nice plant to welcome back Polly, who has recently returned from maternity leave. 

In Co. Wexford, Paul Green seems to be finding a new rarity every few days! On Monday it was the nationally rare Atriplex longipes (Long-stalked Orache), on Wednesday there was a first record for Ireland of Salicornia x marshallii (a hybrid Glasswort) and Friday brought news of Paula O'Meara's find of Chenopodium glaucum (Oak-leaved Goosefoot), new for Co. Wexford.

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