Tuesday, June 24, 2008


We (the U3A hay Botany group) were invited to explore some botanically rich meadow land near Llangors lake by the Biodiversity Officer for the Brecon Beacons Park Authority. Frankly the botanical riches were a little overwhelming for us but, as the afternoon progressed were able to assist in identifying three good sites for seed harvest (collecting seed for other Brecon Beacons Park meadows) later in the month and identify some of the species at these sites.

A few we found:
Hypericum tetrapterum, Square-stalked St John's Wort
Lychnis flos-cuculi, Ragged Robin
Anthoxanthum odoratum, Sweet Vernal Grass
Cynosurus cristatus, Dog's Tail Grass
Trifolium dubium, Lesser Trefoil
Trifolium micranthum, Slender Trefoil
Lathyrus pratensis, Meadow Vetchling
Lotus corniculatus, Bird's Foot Trefoil
Leucanthemum vulgare, Oxeye Daisy

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Getting lucky

Odd to walk past some Tree Mallow growing near Grove Park in Weston-super-Mare almost every day for several years and never notice it in flower (maybe it takes a while to mature enough to do so...). So when I went back there from the new abode last week it was good to see it in full bloom.

Not to the top

I had to tell more than one exhausted "peak bagger" that actually I wasn't going for the top on Snowdon last week. A good botanical site nestles below the cliffs to the east of the peak and the main path is the way to get there until about the 3/4 point where you turn off.

Nice to get a cup of coffee on the way down though - thanks to the popularity of the main path and the fact that the cafe at the top is currently closed. Also it was good to see the railway (only going 3/4 way at the moment itself) chugging up and down - not such a blight on the landscape as I had imagined it would be. One day I may bag the peak - but that isn't the way for Northern Rockcress, Parsley fern and Roseroot, amongst other new things for the website.

It was good to see Thrift so far from the sea as well.

I was actually hoping to find a very local speciality but it wasn't obliging this year. There is always 2009 !

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A great walk and my front garden

Last Saturday was my first BSBI field trip of the year and, as ever, it was great. Emily lead us on a tour of the Dinas Bran area behind Llangollen with breathtaking views, some great botany and knowledgeable company to help me learn more about the subject.

For me the highlight was Changing Forget-me-not. By no means a rarity but probably unknown to most casual walkers. It has minute flowers with the charming characteristic of starting out bright yellow and then changing to a more Forget-me-not blue later.

My "front garden"

Well I don't have one, having opted for a town house, but the pavement outside the front door has already offered a display of Rue-leaved Saxifrage and now (while clearing the asbo weeds) I find a Spergularia - which turns out as expected to be Sand-spurry - Spergularia rubra, after a lot of hand lens searching for (scarce on this one) glandular hairs.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Yellow Whitlow-grass

Some flowers require a special trip. This is one of them - it only grows at all in the UK on the Gower and it flowers in March / early April. So off I went.

I tried three possible sites. The first I drew a blank - probably because I wasn't getting the location quite right - but I cut my losses and tried possibility two. That was bereft, I am sure, of a current population.

But Pennard Castle came up trumps and the display was splendid. So a great deal of (very enjoyable) walking and three separate parking charges paid off in the end. The plant loves to grow in pockets of poor soil in rocks - or in this case crumbling ruin walls.

The view from the castle was stunning as well.

Once again the excursion had me reflecting on the unsatisfactory nature of "bagging" finds. It would be so much better (IMHO) to spend one's life walking the great botanical areas of the country all year round and stumble upon species as if by accident. But it would take more than a lifetime to find it all !

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Cilcenni Dingle

It's "one of the most species-rich woodlands in Radnorshire" (Flora of Radnorshire, R Woods) so I had to take a peek.

These Radnorshire dingles are, I am aware, pretty difficult to explore, so I was heartened by the "come on in" attitude of the Woodland Trust on their website - it's access land as well. But it was hard - I had to get out before the top and re-enter on the (easy) footpath through the middle. But well worth it ! Major find was Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage, in some quantity and quite distinctive from its commoner relative growing with it.

Lovely Marsh Marigolds as well.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Trees and other matters

It's not as though nothing has been happening so I should get back to reporting the development of FloralImages !


The important bit... Well Cwm Byddog was well worth the visit a few weeks ago with Moschatel carpeting areas (I've never seen that before - it's commonish in the Mendips but "local") and other flowers such as Barren Strawberry starting to flower. Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage was also abundant but I couldn't trace the reported Alternate-leaved version.

The trees though are the major feature of Cwm Byddog and doing them photographic justice is hard. Old pollarded oaks are rare - these are thought to be up to 450 years old.

The old Yews at Cusop churchyard were worth examining, coming off Cusop Hill last week. These are also reputed to be very old.


The reason for my lack of blogging is partly major "upgrades" to FloralImages. Best not to boringly go through the detail but if it's an improvement than hopefully traffic / user satisfaction will increase ! The introduction of links to get around the various "parts" of plants is perhaps worth mentioning. So, if you land on a particular flower, want to see the leaf shape and I have a suitable photo the link will be there.