Friday, 13 October 2017


I have been looking for archaeophytes, the subject of the upcoming BSBI photographic competition.  Archaeophytes are non-native species, introduced in ancient times, considered to be around 1500.    For obvious reasons many are arable weeds.    The other plant classifications are natives, neophytes - plants introduced after 1500, and increasingly of garden origin - and casuals where a non-native plant, maybe a garden throw-out, hangs around for a year or two then disappears.

Back in the early spring the developer of the estate where I live, in order to eliminate any possibility of flooding from fields to the north, dug a 1.5 metre ditch which was then connected into the estate surface water drainage.  The bare earth has now been colonised by weeds, mostly, if not all archaeophytes, all of which must have been present for several years as seed, because the adjacent fields are laid to pasture.   I counted at least 33 species in the 80 metre length of the ditch, nothing rare as far as I am aware, but it will be interesting to see what happens over time.  The soil is heavy clay.

Field Pansy

Spear-leaved Orache

Sun Spurge

Common Poppy

Bristly Oxtongue
On Sunday I ran the moth trap catching over 50 moths of 21 species.   My year to date total is now 146 species.  There were lots of November moths (maybe Pale November moths or Autumnal moths) but treated as an aggregate, because they are difficult to separate.   Moth identification relies in the main or looking for a match in one of the photographic or illustrated guides; for the amateur, unlike plants, there are no keys to work through.  Regularly therefore I have looked at pictures of a very handsome moth, Merveille du Jour (wonder of the day), wishing at some point I might see one.  On Sunday I had five; apparently they feed on ivy which is now in flower.  Sure enough it is one of the most striking moths.  November moths by contrast are just drab.

Merveille du Jour

November Moth

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