Thursday, 19 October 2017
As Polly said in the last blog I would be taking over as BSBI Welsh Officer. I would like to thank Polly for the wonderful job she did.
Haven't really had any chance to do much botany yet since I started back as Welsh Officer. It is nearly two and a half years since I posted here.
Polycarpon tetraphyllum (Four-leaved Allseed) grows around the car park on the sea front by ASDA filling station, Pembroke Dock. Known here since Jon Hudson found it in 2009. This is the only extant site in Wales. Last recorded from Barry Docks, Glamorgan in 1927 by J.H. Salter and R.L. Smith.
Polycarpon tetraphyllum (Four-leaved Allseed) is not the most stunning plant, the whole plant is green, very small, not always easy to tell if in flower or fruit as the heads are very small.
Friday, 13 October 2017
Today is my last day as Welsh Officer for the BSBI. I am relocating to Scotland with my family, and it just isn't practical to work in Wales! I am very glad that Wales will be welcoming back Paul Green, who has been Welsh Officer before and knows the ropes.
|Hymenophyllum wilsonii, Wilson's Filmy-fern|
It has been a privilege and a pleasure to be employed by the BSBI for six years - I have learnt so much about Wales and Welsh botany. I will miss Wales, and the botanists, many of whom I now count amongst my friends.
Posted by Polly Spencer-Vellacott at 15:19
Friday, 28 July 2017
True enough, as I arrived in Dolgellau I met Andy, who had just purchased a new umbrella, and along with Flora and Phill we headed up. It was indeed a wet afternoon and by tea-time I was soaked more or less to the skin, but we had collected nearly 100 records, in a new monad, although we hadn't reached the "interesting" part of the tetrad! We headed back to Caerdeon to meet the rest of the group, find a hot shower, dry clothes and a hot dinner, followed by an evening of botany with microscopes, ID books and computers.
|The workroom at Caerdeon|
|Aran Fawddwy and Creiglyn Dyfi|
|Drosera rotundifolia (Round-leaved Sundew)|
|Pinguicula vulgaris (Common Butterwort)|
|Diphasiastrum alpinum (Alpine Clubmoss)|
|Campanula rotundifolia (Harebell)|
|Examining a specimen - with lots of bracken.|
|Lycopodium clavatum (Stag's-horn Clubmoss)|
Posted by Polly Spencer-Vellacott at 15:53
Wednesday, 26 July 2017
At the end of June (after spending two days in Montgomeryshire) I was able to join the regular recording residential at Glynhir for two days. The first day the whole group visited Talley Lakes, which provided a really good range of sedges, although the lake appeared disappointingly eutrophicated, with bright green algae, most likely due to the presence of excessive numbers of waterfowl. However, there were a few sedges to look at, and Comarum palustre (Marsh cinquefoil) was flowering, which is always a treat.
The next day I headed with a small group to an un-recorded tetrad, north of Llandovery, which included somewhat varied habitats, from a small section of the River Towy next to a bridge, to paths and tracks around farmland, including small wooded areas and hedges. I always enjoy the interest of visiting a completely unknown square and although we didn't find anything earth-shattering, we had some interesting finds like this Fumaria muralis (Common Ramping-fumitory).
|Carex aquatilis, Carex leporina, Carex vesicaria and Carex rostrata|
(Water Sedge, Oval Sedge, Bladder-sedge and Bottle Sedge)
|Comarum palustre (Marsh Cinquefoil)|
|Fumaria muralis (Common Ramping-fumitory)|
Posted by Polly Spencer-Vellacott at 16:16
Thursday, 6 July 2017
The botanical delights of west Montgomeryshire - a short report on Mont Flora Group's intensive recording sessions, 26-28 June 2017 (Guest post - contributed by Gill Foulkes, photos: Polly)
The weather forecast did not look promising; the intense heat of the previous week had abated and the barometer was dropping rapidly but in fact we escaped the anticipated deluge and over-trousers were mostly worn to prevent a soaking from the wet vegetation.
On Day 1 we met at Cemmaes Road (some came from home, a couple were staying on a local caravan site and others in a local B & B) and split into three groups. Kate Thorne, Glenys and Aubrey Evans recording locally and were treated to fine views of Cadair Idris as well as a good variety of plants and a bank of sand martins’ nests. The two other groups recorded further down the Dyfi, just to the west of Llanwrin in a secluded, wooded valley. John Clayfield, Rachel Meade and Peter Foulkes found the Enchanter's Nightshade hybrid C. X intermedia. Gill Foulkes, John Thorne and Sheila Turner were pleased to find Red Bartsia Odontites vernus in profusion along a farm track. The third group found Lesser Skullcap Scutellaria minor in a good bog.
|Gill Foulkes with Dactylorhiza maculata (Heath Spotted Orchid)|
The same groups (joined by Polly Spencer-Vellacott, BSBI Welsh Officer) all recorded in the Talbontdrain area on the second day. Intrepid as ever, John Clayfield, Rachel Meade and Peter Foulkes found Parsley fern Cryptogramma crispa and Brittle Bladder-fern Cystopteris fragilis on some old mine buildings. After a steep climb across thistly fields, Polly Spencer-Vellacott, John Thorne, and Gill Foulkes were rewarded with a small boggy area (someone's private nature reserve by the look of it) with a very large colony of Heath Spotted orchids Dactylorhiza maculata. The third group found another good bog.
|Acaena novae-zelandiae (Pirri-pirri bur) - possibly a relatively new invasive in the area?|
Two different groups in two different monads found Pirri-pirri bur Acaena novae-zelandiae; the second reported record for Montgomeryshire (the Montgomeryshire Field Society found it earlier this year near the Centre for Alterntaive Technology). This plant can become especially invasive when it establishes in the wild. Perhaps it should be listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act in England and Wales before it's too late???
|The dramatic landscape of Pistill-y-llyn|
|Cystopteris fragilis (Brittle Bladder-fern)|
Five colonies of Wilson's filmy fern Hymenophyllum wilsonii were found (and there were undoubtedly more) by John Clayfield in his relentless search amongst large boulders. We had hoped to refind Mountain Male- fern Dryopteris oreades, but although a specimen was taken this has not been confirmed. A steep, gravelly Calluna slope provided great habitat for a delightful small eyebright (possibly Euphrasia micrantha but still to be verified). At the very end of the day and within sight of the cars, Kate Thorne found more hybrid Enchanter's nightshade C. X intermedia.
In total the three days produced over 1300 records and participants were introduced to the delights of west Montgomeryshire. It is appropriate that the county flower, the delicate Ivy-leaved bellflower Wahlenbergia hederacea, was found in most monads visited.
|Wahlenbergia hederacea (Ivy-leaved Bellflower)|
Posted by Polly Spencer-Vellacott at 09:44
Wednesday, 14 June 2017
Last Wednesday evening at the Stamford Gate we were treated to a talk about Flintshire from the Emeritus Recorder, Dr Goronwy Wynne.
Goronwy has lived most of his life in Flintshire, and was recorder for over 40 years from 1963 to 2009. He spoke of the geology of the county and the altitude, and also talked of the way geology affects the vegetation on every scale from large to small. He also described some of the botanists that have worked in Flintshire, including anecdotes about Thomas Pennant. He finished off by telling us a few of the most common and rarest species in Flintshire. Goronwy was a colleague of my grandfather, who also contributed records to him for the Flora of Flintshire. He spoke without any PowerPoint or slides, but managed to hold the meeting's attention completely.
|Dr Goronwy Wynne, the BSBI's |
Emeritus Recorder for Flintshire
On Thursday I joined the BSBI President John Faulkner, and Gillian Faulkner, and Oxfordshire VCR David Morris (see David's blog). We were allocated a square and delighted to find Maes Hiraddug SSSI (a Wildlife Trust Reserve). This grassland was lovely to see with many orchids: Dactylorhiza fuchsii (Common Spotted Orchid) and Neottia ovata (Common Twayblade). Then, as a special treat, we found a few fronds of Ophioglossum vulgatum (Adder's-tongue) and then a few more.
|Ophioglossum vulgatum (Adder's-tongue)|
Having explored these meadows thoroughly we went on up a cycle track, into an old quarry, and down some lanes finding Fumaria capreolata (White Ramping-fumitory) in a hedge, we then eventually found access onto Moel Hiraddug, a limestone outcrop where we saw Helianthemum oelandicum (Hoary Rock-rose) over large areas near the summit. By this time the weather was threatening again, although we only had a few showers, and I failed to take any more photographs.
I was unable to go out botanising on the final Friday, but it was wonderful to see so many botanists enjoying Flintshire, and to spend a few days in the field in good botanical company. I know Flintshire will be grateful for the extra records, which must be several thousands!
|David Morris and John Faulkner with Adder's-tongue|
Posted by Polly Spencer-Vellacott at 11:36