Wednesday, 1 March 2017

St David's Day Plant Hunt (NYDPH Revisted)

I am not Welsh - one-eighth by marriage only, so that does not count.   Nevertheless I celebrated St David's Day  by looking for plants in flower.   I followed for comparison the route I took on the plant hunt on New Year's Day: through the village, past the garden allotments, over 2 fields of pasture, an arable field, back down a lane and through another part of the village.  It is never very productive at the best of times but gives a representation of the flora of the village and the immediate countryside.  The views are pleasant.



January and February have been cold and for example at the end of February I tried the moth trap on three evenings but caught nothing.  Today, with the temperature at around 10℃, was a little more Spring-like.  I found a very modest 17 plants in flower, the village being the most productive with weeds, naturalised plants and garden escapes.   The pasture had nothing unsurprisingly despite the presence of a marsh fed by a spring emerging from limestone further up.



Lesser Celandine

 Here is a comparison of the plants in flower on the 2 days.

01/03/2017 02/01/2017
Pineapple-weed Matricaria discoidea NYD
Ivy  Hedera helix NYD
Wood Avens Geum urbanum NYD
Shepherd's- Purse Capsella bursa-pastoris SDD  NYD 
Groundsel Senecio vulgaris SDD  NYD
Read Dead-nettle Lamium purpureum SDD  NYD
Dandelion Taraxcum agg. SDD  NYD
Hazel Corylus avellana SDD 
Common Chickweed Stellaria media SDD 
Annual Meadow Grass Poa annua SDD 
Hairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta SDD 
Daisy Bellis perennis SDD 
Snowdrop Galanthus nivalis SDD 
Common Field-speedwell Veronica persica SDD 
Ivy-leaved Speedwell Veronica hederifolia SDD 
Petty Spurge Euphorbia peplus SDD 
Lesser Celandine Ranunculus ficaria SDD 
Primrose Primula vulgaris SDD 
White Dead Nettle Lamium album SDD 
Greater Periwinkle Vinca major SDD 
Total 17 7

I saw my first bee of the year, a queen White-tailed Bumblebee.

I dallied a little looking at the hazel flowers - the female and male flowers are on the same bush but are separate.   Pollination is effected by the wind, so I looked to see if there was any difference in the distribution of female flowers - top to bottom - one might expect more at lower levels but  I could not see any. difference.
Hazel flower (female)
The next milestone is May 1 (May Day) so another chance to see progress of plants flowering.   Beyond that and I will probably have given up because grasses will be in flower and I find them far too challenging.

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