Saturday, April 27, 2013

Pwll y Wrach and Butterbur

Four of us explored this excellent Brecon Wildlife Trust Reserve. (Click here for the BWT page)

It couldn't have been a better day really - many many thanks to my companions, Joan, Wendy and Dainis for the good company, encouragement and above all the great spotting.

The newly acquired south bank side of the Ennig was a delight with carpets of Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage:

as well as substantial populations of its less common relative, Alternate-...

and contrasting carpets of Wood Anemone 

as well as Wild Garlic (not yet in flower).

Toothwort was so abundant to be considered a bit of a yawn by the end of our walk (well not really...)

So all in all it's a great place to be right at the moment. A word of warning though. Access to the other side of the Ennig is dependent on fordability of the river and not to be advised without suitable footwear in suitable weather conditions.

Earlier in the week I had to park up and investigate a population of Butterbur spotted near the Llanfaes A40 roundabout near Brecon. I thought I would like to see if there were any female plants (unlikely according to the books but an indicator of native status if found). You might think from this picture that I did (I certainly was encouraged at the site).

But no - I gather from reading several books that these will be "male" capitulae with sterile stigmas ! It's worth checking for plants, if you see this, with smaller flower heads and slender stigmas (at least that's implied by pictures I've seen in some books). But this isn't very likely here in south Wales. To cap it all Clapham Tutin and Warburg says that "only the sterile florets secrete nectar" - what is this plant trying to achieve ? (OK the answer is certainly the passing on of it's selfish genes - but in a subtle way no doubt.)

Lastly, I got this translation service from Twitter - Floralimages in Gangsta.

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