Saturday, 30 April 2016

Golden Saxifrages at Whichford Wood

Around 5 miles away and over the county border, Whichford Wood, is the nearest woodland to Hook Norton, other than a few coverts and the linear woodland which marks the course of the former Banbury to Cheltenham railway.  

We went there to see the impressive display of bluebells but also to look for Early purple orchids and Alternate-leaved golden saxifrage (Chrysosplenium alternifolium), which is recorded there and at only one other locality in Warwickshire.  It is quite rare in the south Midlands and South-east more generally. Gratifyingly we found a few patches in amongst its sibling, Opposite-leaved Golden saxifrage (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium), which was far more widespread in the wood. Alternate is more robust, more imposing because the yellow petal-free flowers are larger.   Both grow in damp edges of the woodland.

Alternate-leaved golden saxifrage
Alternate-leaved golden saxifrage
Alternate-lvd g.s (top) compared to Opposite-lvd g.s. (bottom)
No orchids but a list of 50 or so plants in total despite the tree and grass count being cursory, including inter alia Town Hall Clock (Adoxa moschatellina), Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon), Wood-sorrell (Oxalis acetosella) and of course Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa).  The bluebells alone were certainly worth the trip, but we also saw our first cuckoo of the year, at least 20 roe deer, 4 jays, and a hare, so not bad.
Whichford Wood

Town-hall Clock
Roe Deer
Yellow Archangel

Whichford Wood


  1. Ah, Adoxa and Chrys alt - I used to see these in Lancashire. Not seen either around here. Not sure I believe the few old records for Adoxa - and nobody has ever claimed ALGS in VC104 - though it is known at Glenelg.

    1. Though ALGS is less common the two seem to have similar distributions. THC is missing by and large from the East Midlands, the Humber, NW and SW Scotland, and Ireland. It is not easy to see why, other than a paucity of ancient woodland perhaps.