Monday 18 July 2022

BSBI Summer Meeting 2022: Day Two

Marsh Helleborine
Weybeck Pasture 16/7/2022
Image: J. Hanmer
Yesterday's report from the BSBI Annual Summer Meeting (ASM) came from botanist Laura, who is not (yet) a BSBI member and was attending her first ever ASM. Today we hear from another plant-lover attending her first ever ASM but this person is already right at the heart of the BSBI family - it's our CEO Julia Hanmer. 

Over to Julia:  

"It’s a real treat to be here amongst so many botanists at the BSBI Annual Summer Meeting in Malham Tarn. This is my first BSBI field meeting after joining in April 2021 during Covid and I’m so pleased to finally meet lots of members face to face, rather than just on Zoom.

"It’s also wonderful, as a beginner botanist, to be surrounded by many people who know their plants really well and can show me the features to look for to identify them. Also to share tips about memorising plants, including the way they taste and smell (such as that the leaves of Rumex acetosa (Common Sorrel) taste of apple peel).

Jeremy recording the plants
 that Julia's group spotted
Image: J. Hanmer

"Today we divided into small groups to visit and survey various different nature reserves or monads, all without putting too much pressure on these delicate habitats. Our group of seven went to Weybeck Pasture, a meadow recently taken back into management from a tenant farmer by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (YWT). This was a rectangular field on the banks of the River Skirfare, near where it joins the River Wharfe.

"When we found our way to the field entrance, we were initially disappointed and wondering why this was down on the list of interesting local sites. However, this was a good chance for me to practice my common species identification skills, including grasses, thistles and clovers. We looked at Cirsium arvense (Creeping Thistle) with smooth stems and pale lilac flowers beside Cirsium vulgare’s deep purple flowers with prickly stems and an overall much angrier look. Discussing thistle identification led to tales of high-speed botanising and how to spot C. heterophyllum (Melancholy Thistle) from trains by the white colour of the hairs on the underside of the leaves.

"I’ve been doing the Identiplant course online since February to improve my plant identification skills and it was great to meet up with two others here who are doing the course and find many of the species I haven’t been able to track down yet in London such as Trifolium medium (Zigzag Clover).

Marsh Cinquefoil,
Tarn Moss, 16/7/2022
Image: J. Hanmer
"Once we walked down the slope towards the stream, we were suddenly in botanical heaven. We found a small slope covered in Gymnadenia conopsea (Fragrant-orchids), which smelt amazing and Epipactis palustris (Marsh Helleborine, image top right). This was alongside a wonderful wet flush with Pinguicula vulgaris (Common Butterwort), Polygala vulgaris (Common Milkwort), Black bog rush, Linum catharticum (Fairy Flax), Sesleria caerulea (Blue Moor-grass) and Pilosella officinarum (Mouse-ear-hawkweed.) Nearby, on a higher slope, we found Helianthemum nummularium (Common Rock-rose) and Primula farinosa (Bird’s-eye Primrose).

"After all that excitement and a paddle in the steam, we sheltered from the sun beside a limestone wall for lunch, then returned to the stream to attempt to re-find a rare species we had a grid reference for beside the small stream. The grid reference proved accurate and we found Blysmus compressus (Flat-sedge), a “Vulnerable” Red Data Book sedge. Now I understand the buzz of finding a rare plant! We counted 34 plants in flower in a small area 3.5m long in a small open area alongside the stream.

Common Wintergreen,
Tarn Moss, 16/7/2022
Image: J. Hanmer
"While Jeremy (image above left), Caroline and James went off to finish recording the monad (a 1km x 1km square), our car of four then headed back to FSC Malham Tarn for a cup of tea before walking to Tarn Moss NNR  and the amazing boardwalk over this very special bog beside tarn. We’d visited briefly on a walk yesterday afternoon but today we had time to linger and key out some of the exciting bog plants including comparing Galium uliginosum (Fen Bedstraw) with Galium palustre (Marsh-bedstraw), spotting the seed heads of Trollius europaeus (Globeflower) and finding Triglochin palustris (Marsh Arrowgrass), Comarum palustre (Marsh Cinquefoil, image above right), Vaccinium oxycoccus (Cranberry), Pyrola minor (Common Wintergreen) and the wonderful Drosera rotundifolia (Round-leaved Sundew, image on left).

"What a fantastic day! Huge thanks to everyone here for all your help in guiding me to find and identify these amazing plants".

Huge thanks also to our CEO Julia for this report, it's great that she had a chance to escape from her desk for a day and enjoy seeing some fabulous plants! Watch this space for the next report, from Day Three of the Summer Meeting.   

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment!