Monday, 7 January 2019

New Year Plant Hunt: an Improbable Calculation

For the fourth consecutive year, I took part in the BSBI organised, New Year Plant Hunt.   This year on my regular route plus an extension to include a fragment of woodland, I found 22 plants in flower.  Like for like, excluding the add-on, the total was 19, two species less than last year.   They were almost all perennial weeds, and there were no early flowering spring plants.  Because our weather station is mis-recording temperatures I have not made a weather comparison

Since the event I went looking for flowering plants around Greta Tew and Duns Tew, two villages south east of Hooky, finding another 8 species that were not on my Hooky NYPH list - again weeds, except for a few flowering snowdrops- bringing me up to a total of 30 species.   To find them I covered 30 Km in 10 hours, 1 species every Km or 3 species per hour. The rate has though dropped off to a meagre 0.36 species per Km, (8 additions in 21 Km and 10 hours) on the Great Tew and Duns Tew exploration.

The NYPH is becoming increasingly a competition, but in and around Hooky the leader board is but an abstract, surrounded as we are with arable and pasture, some of it quite joyless in winter especially the bridleways churned up by horses.  As far as I am aware the highest total is for Swanage, 120 species.   At the reduced capture rate of 0.36 species per Km I would have to cover another 247 Km to get to that number.   Swanage is in fact 220 Km from Hooky.

For what it is worth my list is:

Hooky NYPH

Annual Meadow Grass Poa annua
Cock's-foot Dactylis glomerata
Common Chickweed Stellaria media
Common Field Speedwell Veronica persica
Daisy Belis perennis
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale
Dog's Mercury Mercuralis perennis
Dove's-foot Cranesbill Geranium molle
Feverfew Tanacetum parthenium
Gorse Ulex europaeus
Greater Periwinkle Vinca major
Groundsel Senecio
Hazel Corylus avellana
Hogweed Heraclium sphondylium
Petty Spurge Euphorbia peplus
Primrose Primula vulgaris
Red Dead-nettle Lamium purpureum
Shepherd's-purse Capsella bursa-pastoris
Smooth Hawk's-beard Crepis capillaris
Smooth sow-thistle Sonchus oleraceus
White dead nettle Lamium album
Yarrow Achillea millefolium

Great Tew and Duns Tew additions

Snowdrop Galanthus nivalis
Common Fumitory Fumaria officinalis
Scentless Mayweed Tripleurospermum inodorum
Pineappleweed Matricaria matricarioides

Creeping Buttercup Ranunculus repens
Herb Robert Geranium robertianum
Rape Brassica napus
Nipplewort Lapsana communis

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