A collection of wildlife photographs

Sunday, 4 January 2015

New Year Plant Hunt

Yesterday on the 3rd January I went for a walk around a local coniferous plantation woodland and grassland field margins in search of plants in flower, for the BSBI New Year Flower Hunt. My walk took place in the vice county of Buckinghamshire VC24. I was interested to see if I could find any plants in flower at this time of year, which featured harsh growing conditions.

I began the walk with a visit to a grassland field margin, where I found Dandelion Taraxacum officinale agg. shown below, and Cock's Foot Dactylis glomerata in flower.
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale agg.
Red Fescue Festuca rubra and Couch GrasElymus repens also still supported seed heads here, which unfortunately no longer had anthers protruding from themI also found Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris and Common Nettle Urtica dioica here, however the flowers had been fertilised and were now brown, hence these four species were not included in the total.

On entering the woodland, I was convinced that I wouldn't find any species in flower due to its thick canopy. However there was a marshy glade, which had Soft Rush Juncus effusus in flower.
Soft Rush Juncus effusus
I then walked further through the woods and did not see a flower for a good 30 minutes. Then I reached the grassland margins of an arable field and there were several flowering plants, namely Black Mustard Brassica nigra, and Field Madder Sherardia arvensis, as well as White Dead-nettle Lamium album near a hedgerow. These three species are shown in the pictures below.
Black Mustard Brassica nigra
Black Mustard Brassica nigra
Field Madder Sherardia arvensis
White Dead-nettle Lamium album

Other plants seen adjacent to this arable field included Common Knapweed Centaurea nigra, Broad-leaved Dock Rumex obtusifolius and Foxglove Digitalis purpurea however, these flowers had long been fertilised and no stigmas were showing. Therefore these three species were not included.

So, 6 species of plants were found in flower within the 2 hour walk. Not a huge tally but it was fun nonetheless. Bring on the next years event, where I am tempted to visit habitats with greater species-richness.

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