Friday, January 05, 2018

New Year Plant Hunt 2018

What a way to start our botanical year! Crickhowell proved to be a good choice of venue for this year's hunt and we found 53 plants in flower which could reasonably be said to be wild-growing.

Lesser Celandine or Llygad Ebrill, Ficaria verna subsp. fertilis (Ranunculus ficaria subsp. ficaria)

We set off in the right direction, it turned out, going east from the car park and rapidly collecting many records as we passed the allotments and went out onto the A40 towards the edge of the county. This is clearly the route that adventurous plants are taking into Brecknock.

Common Fumitory or Mwg-y-ddaear cyffredin, Fumaria officinalis

After a good lunch at the Bear we agreed to finish our three hour search, significantly increasing our total, but finds were much more sparse going west. It was also much windier so we were relieved to get back to our cars when time was up.

We saw plenty of Geranium robertianum all the way around Crickhowell but it was by the car park entrance that Anne finally spotted a flower  - making the last addition to our total of 53 flowering plants seen.
Musk-mallow, Hocysen fwsg or Malva moschata

In fact everyone tried very hard - we had to examine our specimen of Knotgrass pretty closely to find one tiny flower and many other plants had a profusion of leaves but only one tiny flower.

This grass had me stumped - it's a new entrant to the county - via Cardiff Docks and Monmouth...

Water Bent, Barfwellt y dŵr or Polypogon viridis

(picture by Sue)

We never saw a single Holly flower (too early) or Ivy (too late) and, if the Box in the churchyard had managed to open one of its prolific buds I would have had a dilemma whether to record it - probably not as certainly not native and almost certainly planted.

Oxford Ragwort, or Creulys Rhydychen, Senecio squalidus

Garden Pansy, Trilliw’r gerddi or Viola x wittrockiana

There was little rain but a lovely rainbow.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A walk along the Wye

We got permission to explore some of the Wye bank near Llyswen yesterday and found several interesting and not-often-recorded species there and also on the field edges nearby.

 Photographing Pale Toadflax by the Wye
Pale Toadflax, Llin-y-llyffant gwelw or Linaria repens
The map of recent records for this in Brecknock is distinctly sparse so we were glad to spot it.

There aren't many more records for this either - but we should probably look on more arable field edges!
Field Pansy, Trilliw'r tir âr or Viola arvensis

Common Ramping-fumitory, Mwg-y-ddaear amrywiol or Fumaria muralis amongst Beet

We saw this all along the river:
Marsh Ragwort, Creulys y gors or Senecio aquaticus

Bracket fungi (very old) on a very cracked Crack-willow

Thanks to Sue for most of the photos

Thursday, October 05, 2017

A new site for Rough Horsetail

In May we went to Cwm Sere and almost missed a new site for Equisetum hyemale or Rough Horsetail (also sometimes known and Dutch Rush or Scouring Rush). In fact it was only because Alan, who was with us then, took a sample of what I had too readily dismissed as Water Horsetail that it came to my notice.

So a group of us went back yesterday to pinpoint the site and take some photographs.

There are only two other known sites for this Horsetail in the county.

The site:
The Nant Sere in National Trust owned woodland with Rough Horsetail growing from about where the photo was taken up to where Anne is photographing it above

Rough Horsetail, Marchrawnen y gaeaf or Equisetum hyemale

A few had fertile cones

The stems have characteristic banded "leaf-sheaths"

You can see here why it is "Rough" Horsetail

And I should include a picture of Alan's specimen from may that alerted me to my blunder!

Thanks, Sue, for this picture!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Around Llanfihangel Nant Bran

We set out to record an area that has had over 200 species recorded in the past; but none since 2000; yesterday.
It took us up to the common above Llanfihangel and up the Nant Bran. I was preoccupied with making more than 250 records so it is mainly thanks to Sue that there are pictures of the great views and plants we saw.
Field-rose, Rhosyn gwyllt gwyn or Rosa arvensis

(still readily identifiable at this time of year from the long style remnant)
Hop Trefoil, Meillionen hopysaidd or Trifolium campestre
No - Black Medick or Medicago lupulina as pointed out by Dave in comments!
Red Bartsia, Gorudd or Odontites vernus

The Beacons in the distance
We also saw a wide range of Waxcap fungi on the high common including this one:
Pink Waxcap or Ballerina Waxcap, Hygrocybe calyptriformis
Inspecting another Waxcap:

When nearly back at the car we inspected some hillside springs and found several boggy ground specialists including this which I photographed:

Fen Bedstraw, Briwydd y fign or Galium uliginosum
(NOT Marsh-bedstraw, Briwydd y gors or Galium palustre as previously posted - thanks Julian!)

(We did see both that day.)

In all there were 156 different species recorded. (And as some of the 200+ records mentioned at the beginning haven't been seen since the 1970s that is doing OK I think.)

Friday, September 08, 2017

Brecon Gaer

We explored around the Roman Fort Remains near Brecon last week.

We found plenty eg in this ditch by the ramparts of the fort.

And some plants were intrepidly clinging on to the Roman Walls like this Musk Mallow (photographed by Sue):
Musk-mallow, Hocysen fwsg or Malva moschata

But only a few botanical pictures were taken!
Reed Canary-grass, Pefrwellt or Phalaris arundinacea

Wych Elm, Llwyfen lydanddail or Ulmus glabra

Musk-mallow again, Hocysen fwsg or Malva moschata and Photographer

The field within the camp had several patches of Blackening Waxcaps - this is the first we saw:
Blackening Wax Cap or Hygrocybe conica var conica

And Bev's pictures here show the variation as they blacken.

Pictures of the Fort, Usk and Afon Ysgir:

Bristly Oxtongue, Tafod-y-llew gwrychog or Helminthotheca echioides (was Picris echioides)
Found by Anne from our botany group last week month between Llangattock and Gilwern.