Saturday, October 15, 2016

Common plants, Berries and Pools

Passing a field by the A40 nearing Sennybridge I noticed a field with a spectacular (from the road) display of a white flower. I couldn't think what is might be but about a week later had time to investigate.

The field was planted with Turnips (or similar) and turned out to have a footpath through it but the intensity of the white flowers was already waning by the time I got round to investigating. I had to get nearer than the road before the penny dropped - Yarrow!
Yarrow, Milddail or Achillea millefolium

But it was good to realise how a good stand of this can be quite stunning. Better botanists I know could have identified it from the road (at speed)...
Some of the Yarrow in the field

But it turned out to make a good circular walk through varying habitats as I continued on the path to loop back to the car by a different route - and a definite route for recording next summer as the route passes through four 1km squares all in the same tetrad (a bit for a first for awkward Brecknock) in an area not recently recorded.

Next I went to Henallt Common in search mainly for the Fly Agaric I have been told can be abundant there. It was too early for them but there was an abundance of berries on several different trees and shrubs - a cold winter due? How could they tell?
Holly, Celynnen or Ilex aquifolium
Hawthorn, Draenen wen or Crataegus monogyna
Rowan, Criafolen or Sorbus aucuparia
...Somewhat past its best the last one.

Then two of us set out on a cold day to search for Pillwort in pools on Llandefalle Common. We didn't find any but there was lots of other interest and we found this which I hadn't seen for a while in a rather dried up pool:
Marsh Speedwell, Rhwyddlwyn culddail y gors or Veronica scutellata

This pool was the most water-filled but still had no Pillwort. It is abundant in a pool not far away at all on Brechfa Common.

And here is some Pillwort I photographed (much) earlier:
Pillwort, Pelenllys gronynnog or Pilularia globulifera

You can tell it's a fern from the way the fronds unfurl...

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