Thursday, 5 July 2012

Anglesey - in the rain again!

Yesterday a day out on Anglesey to round up some of the remaining populations of Tuberaria guttata, spotted rock-rose. Unfortunately the weather was not in our favour but the plants were still quite recognisable although no flowers were visible in the morning in heavy showers. Interestingly in the afternoon about 4.30pm (when the petals would usually have dropped off) we did see some flowers which appeared to be only recently opened; perhaps they were stimulated to open late because of the late afternoon sunshine?

We also saw a large patch of Cuscuta epithymum, dodder. This fascinating and curious plant is completely parasitic on a range of species - especially gorse, as was the case here. With no chlorophyll and hardly any leaves, after germination the wiry red stems twine around the host plant and the roots die off. Specialised organs called haustoria are inserted into the host plant allowing the dodder to extract the water and nutrients it requires.

Note: postscript, this appears to be a site where dodder has not been recorded recently although it was mentioned in R.H. Roberts The Flowering Plants and Ferns of Anglesey. However, there was no grid reference.

Dodder - Cuscuta epithymum on gorse - Ulex gallii

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