Friday, January 10, 2014

A good start to 2014

I think the eight of us that assembled for the botanical recording meeting yesterday were all greatly relieved to be able to get out in the sun for a walk. Any botany would be a bonus.

But thankfully there was plenty of Mistletoe at Cwrt y Gollen to atempt to determine host tree species for. (There were at least seven different host trees we were sure but some identifications are tentative for now: Populus sp.; Crataegus monogyna; Tilia x europea ; Acer platanoides; Sorbus spp.; Pyrus ?; Robinia ?) A place to visit again.

A Norway Maple at Cwrt y Gollen with Mistletoe

We tried to get behind the camp to woodland where we could see more trees with Mistletoe but were thwarted by too-deep flooding on the footpath that would have taken us there; so we continued up the A40 towards Crickhowell noting a probable Black Poplar by a farm entrance. Then we turned onto a footpath taking us to the Usk which clearly had burst its banks earlier in the winter judging from the debris "tideline" but was quite safe by yesterday. Surprisingly there was no mistletoe at all in the trees along the river but Paul Green spotted many species that none of the rest of us could identify at this time of year - including rare-for-Brecon Hemlock, Conium maculatum. Another place to revisit when plants are mature. So thanks to his expertise a good list was recorded for the area.

Sun !

Lime Tree with Mistletoe, Cwrt y Gollen

Friday, January 03, 2014

Mistletoe etc

New Year, New (botanical) resolutions. But most of them involve me, a computer and some database analysis. However there are things to get out and observe even now.

It's a good time to look for Mistletoe and there is plenty to see in the Brecknockshire area.

This is from Little Mountain, just in Herefordshire but near Hay

One parameter I have been remiss in recording up to now is the host tree for this plant. Stace lists Malus (Apple), Tilia (Lime), Crataegus (Hawthorn) and Populus (Poplar) as "common" hosts. But there are others. Oak was mentioned by Archie Miles, talking about his new book "The British Oak" at the Hay Winter Festival. He hasn't seen Mistletoe on Oak in the area for some time. Now there's a challenge... The Rev C A Johns in "Flowers of the Field" describes Mistletoe on Oak as "exceedingly rare".

Paul Green has spotted it on Ash on the road from Glasbury to Hay (at The Sheephouse) so I now also notice this every time I pass. There is also some on Hawthorn at the Warren in Hay. But my perception is that the common roadside occurrences are on Lime, Apple and Poplar. I'll see if anything can be done to extent the list of hosts for Brecknockshire this year.

The flowers are not very significant...

As my regular followers will maybe already know, I take my car to Builth for servicing and walk while it's being done. Yesterday was MOT time so I took a short walk along the Wye. The tree avenue along there is clearly worth a serious recording session - even if they are planted - as there is a great variety of species and some lovely mature specimens. A little later in the year I think this is a good prospect for a meeting. (It's a little early yet for my tree recognition skills - especially with the river so high and restricting access to look at twigs in many cases.)