Thursday, March 20, 2014

Another Butterbur and Beating the Weather

Petasites japonicus was recorded by Ray Woods back in 1995 near where the Irfon flows into the Wye at Builth but it now seems to be spreading down the river - even if it was originally a planted introduction.

Tony from the Botany Recording Group spotted some on the Brecknock Wildlife Trust Mammal Discovery Day at Caer Beris a few weeks back so I went along with him to see it flowering (and hence confirm the identification) on Monday. I walked into a patch, however, soon after leaving my car at Builth Bridge Car Park.

We found five sites in all from Caer Beris down to the car park - and I wonder if this newly naturalised species has spread further down the Wye.

Close up of Petasites japonicus, Giant Butterbur or Yr alan mwyaf

Like the native Butterbur I featured in the blog last year this plant sends up a flower spike before the true leaves but, as the picture above shows, this week's species has large leafy bracts below the inflorescence. 

Later in the year large leaves will appear which are similar to but distinguishable from the native Petasites hybridus. If you are walking along the Breconshire bank of the Wye in the next weeks do please look out for more of this. (Or for that matter the Radnorshire bank !)

Beating the Weather

Today, four of the group had sufficient faith in my interpretation of the Met Office predictions to accompany me to Park Wood near Talgarth and we got back to the cars just as the rain came in earnest at about 2.30 - entirely as planned. It was a good morning with even some sun and we made some good finds including several Early Dog Violets:
Viola reichenbachiana,   Early Dog-violet or Fioled y coed

We got as far as the old Bradwys Wood (included into Park Wood by the Woodland Trust who own both) and this was more damp and unkempt (in a good way) than the part near the car park with the path flanked by last-year's dead Angelica stems and Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage.

 A gully in Bradwys Wood with Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage

Possibly our best find (by Vicky) was Adoxa moschatellina, Townhall Clock, Moschatel or Mwsglys

We were either too early or the grid references were slightly off or maybe Herb Paris isn't there any more but we must look again - some year.

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