Sunday, July 26, 2015

More of the same

We continued our survey of the land near Allt Rhongyr last week.

Picture by Steph who was Bracken-rolling on the reserve

The additions to our list from the week before were relatively few - but significant. Also we established that some species we saw the week before in small quantity were, in fact abundant. Examples follow:

Small Scabious, Clafrllys bach or Scabiosa columbaria (here proliferating a bit from the inflorescence)

Common Rock-rose, Cor-rosyn cyffredin or Helianthemum nummularium

Wall-rue, Duegredynen y muriau or Asplenium ruta-muraria

And this wasn't abundant but definitely present in fern-rich scree:
Green Spleenwort, Duegredynen werdd or Asplenium viride

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Near Allt Rhongyr

But not in the reserve. We set out up a species rich lane to record in some privately owned land nearby (and therefore recorded the lane as well for general reasons).

It was nice to find a really good stand of Brittle Bladder-fern near one of the many cave entrances in this area:

Brittle Bladder-fern, Ffiolredynen frau or Cystopteris fragilis

Mike showed us a particularly attractive Blackberry - one of the many species he has recorded and helped to identify in our area:
Rubus vestitus (as the only online resource I could find that even attempted a common name calls it: "A Bramble")

When  we got up to the limestone-influenced level we started to find many more choice plants  - including another rarity from a difficult genus:
Hieracium repandulare, Repand-leaved Hawkweed

"A Welsh endemic locally frequent in the Craig y Rhiwarth area and at Craig Cerrig Gleisiad." (BSBI Atlas of British and Irish Hawkweeds). A pity we were too late for the flower...

John and Mike approach a cave entrance (picture by Sue)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Near and Far

I set out to record what was growing wild in my immediate environment (Hay-on-Wye) last week and my first outing didn't take me even 100m from the house before I was back to identify some specimens. Things growing in pavement cracks can be harder than usual to identify - especially if trodden on!

Among these were: (none of these photographed on the day or where seen...)

Slender Pearlwort, Corwlyddyn unflwydd or Sagina filicaulis (Sagina apetala subsp. erecta)

Thyme-leaved Sandwort, Tywodlys dail teim or Arenaria serpyllifolia

I didn't get a lot further in my second outing so another session will be required to do the 1km square justice.

Then at the weekend I went to Plas Tan y Bwlch near Porthmadog for the Welsh AGM of the BSBI. Saturday's field trip saw a group of us doing a 1km square near Trawsfynyyd with a quarry and upland with interesting geology. Thanks to the excellent botanists in the group 160 or so records were made in the square including a "Vicia bingo" - all the Vicia species on the Merionithshire card were ticked off after a late discovery of Vicia orobus in a field at the farthest point we got to.

Wood Bitter-vetch, Ffacbysen chwerw or Vicia orobus (A Brecknockshire picture)

Another good find - requiring very sharp eyes on the part of a colleague:
Lesser Clubmoss, Cnwp-fwsogl bach or Selaginella selaginoides

Monday, July 06, 2015

Beaten by Midges one day, then Kenfig

Only two of us offered ourselves as sacrifice to the fierce midges of the Nant Tadarn valley - a tributary of the Towy in farthest Northwest Brecknockshire - but it was worth it even if they probably shortened our visit.

This area hasn't recorded for a whole and was, it has to be said, dominated by a few species (Mat-grass and Star Sedge among them) so the number of records was small. But we did find rocks with Fir Club-moss and a single Parsley Fern. Records of the latter pop up from time to time in this area over the years but not often. (It is much more abundant high in Snowdonia.)

Fir Clubmoss, Cnwp-fwsogl mawr or Huperzia selago

Parsley Fern, Rhedynen bersli or Cryptogramma crispa

The latter wasn't the happiest plant I have ever seen but there were lots of decayed leaves from last year and it appears to be withstanding the attentions the local sheep able to reach up to it.

And we also found Bladder Sedge at the source of the Nant (together with abundant Marsh Violet plants):
Bladder-sedge, Hesgen chwysigennaidd or Carex vesicaria

Then four of us gathered at Kenfig Visitor Centre for Brecknockshire Botany Group's first foreign visit. It was great to be just doling botany without having to record - and we all learnt from each other in a variety of ways. The flora was of course also rather different from that we are used to.

Early Marsh-orchid, Tegeirian-y-gors ar or Dactylorhiza incarnata
Adder's-tongue, Tafod y neidr or Ophioglossum vulgatum (we saw this in abundance)

Lesser Water-plantain, Llyriad-y-dwr bach or Baldellia ranunculoides
Examining Fragrant Agrimony

And, as we set off back towards the cars, we stumbled upon several plants of the Rare Fen Orchid that grows at Kenfig, having failed to find it at a currently-known site earlier. It has been recorded here in the past but this refind delighted the Warden.
Fen Orchid, Tegeirian y fign galchog or Liparis loeselii - note Adder's Tongue and Marsh Helleborine adjacent to it.