Thursday, December 05, 2019

Last Minute Finds

We thought it was all over (the BSBI Atlas project I mean) but an attempt to find a Charophyte up near Hay Bluff led to two Atlas-significant vascular finds (but no Chara I could see or get onto my grapnel).

It seems Dove's-foot Cranesbill isn't common in the hectad and not yet seen after 2000 so we were pleased to find it on a raised area that looked like it had been quarried in the distant past:

Dove's-foot Crane's-bill, Pig yr aran or Geranium molle

Nearby was this thistle which confused us at first but turned out to be one that hasn't yet been recorded for the hectad at all in the county and only before 2000 over the border in England (Herefordshire) - unless records are in the pipeline there, of course.

Musk Thistle, Ysgallen Siarl or Carduus nutans 

Apparently well behind in development this season but there were many rosettes for next year around. 

And we found plenty of Pillwort - this must be one of the country's strongholds for this decreasing and rare fern. The ephemeral pools in the area were very deep resulting in very long fronds at quite a depth.
Pillwort, Pelenllys gronynnog or Pilularia globulifera 

Here is a close up of the unusual plant:
Temporarily beached in Radnorshire in 2011.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Winter sets in

Since I last wrote...

A revisit to complete the survey near Coelbren led to some good extra records including many of these in wet fields:
Marsh Lousewort, Melog y waun or Pedicularis palustris

Then I was off for a mostly non-botanical break in South West Cork but did photograph these and other plants of note:
Bell Heather, Grug y mêl, Fraoch Cloigíneach or Erica cinerea

This was on the site of Drombeg Stone Circle (near Glandore) which also has the remains of a Fullacht Fia and Hut circle (foreground).

And then on the very top of the old Martello Tower at Garinish Island, Glengarriff this (which had me puzzled for a while).
Fairy Foxglove, Clychau’r tylwyth teg, Méirín sí or Erinus alpinus

Right by the water's edge I was puzzled by these leaves until I spotted the lone and paltry flower:
Kidney Vetch, Plucen felen, Méara Muire or Anthyllis vulneraria

Back in Brecknock the group went to an unrecorded square near Beulah and recorded quite a long list of plants together with several fungi such as:
Parasol Mushroom

And just a few days ago an unsuccessful attempt to find Polypodium cambricum led us through these magical woods at the head of the Dyffryn Crawnon Valley..

The group in good spirits after a difficult time climbing up through woods on a path that had become very overgrown / blocked by fallen trees. We are at an old Limekiln.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Another Summary

A round up for the last month. The end of August saw us exploring a small valley above Talybont on Usk and we came across this.
Bifid Hemp-nettle, Y benboeth hollt or Galeopsis bifida

You have to look at the flowers carefully when you find Hemp-nettle as every now and then it is this slightly smaller-flowered species with different marking and a small notch at the bottom of the flower. (When the plant isn't flowering it has to be recorded as one of the two species.)

We only seem to see this on road verges - or gardens as a weed. I spotted these driving from Brecon to Hay near Felin Fach. Only just in time to catch before the major verge-mowing.
Wild Carrot, Moronen or Daucus carota subsp. carota
The fruiting head always wraps itself up like this.

Steph confirmed this species that we had seen earlier in the year at Dolymynach reservoir (Elan Valley).
Floating Bur-reed, Cleddlys arnofiol or Sparganium angustifolium

And this was reported very near where I live in hay in a car park - not a common casual in Brecknock.
Apple-of-Peru, Afal Periw or Nicandra physalodes

Even more unlikely but firmly established as a casual alien was this, which isn't even in our standard (UK) books, but Andy, the rare plant expert, knew what it was. Found near Builth.
Fewflower Jacob's-ladder, Ychydig Blodyn Ysgol Jacob or Polemonium pauciflorum

Steph did some exploration of the moorland near the Elan reservoirs and found this gem in damp ground.
Ivy-leaved Bellflower, Clychlys dail eiddew or Wahlenbergia hederacea

The peat in the area was rather eroded though. Hopefully restoration work is to come.

And Anne did the BIS "previously unrecorded" square, finding the end stage of this:
Broad-leaved Helleborine, Y galdrist lydanddail or Epipactis helleborine

On a day I was unable to accompany my faithful team they carried on regardless and explored on the Epynt in hi-vis mode.

And finally last week we were in lanes and paths near Llanbedr in the south east of the county finding several interesting species including this that we don't see at all often:
Long-stalked Crane's-bill, Pig-yr-aran hirgoes or Geranium columbinum

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Out on their own

My botany group are getting much more confident in their plant identification and have started to go out on their own making records for Brecknock.

Some are very intrepid and endure all kinds of bad weather to get their records, so this blog starts with things I wasn't present for.

The area around Neuadd Reservoir (south of Pen y Fan) is relatively unrecorded for the BSBI. So Anne and others set of up there on a prearranged day - the forecast did not put them off! (But they were prudent in their preparations and plans of course.)

So the pictures are rather - dull...
And lunch was best taken standing up.
Making the records was difficult in the wet.
This sample was brought back just to make sure - which is just as well as it is the first ever record for the whole 10km square:
Lesser Skullcap, Cycyllog bach or Scutellaria minor
Here from a nicer day somewhere else:

It was only the second time this century that this has been found in the 10km square:
Marsh Lousewort, Melog y waun or Pedicularis palustris
Other great finds - with "library" images:
- again only the second record this century.
Common Fleabane, Cedowydd or Pulicaria dysenterica
- also only the second record this century.

And explorations along the canal near Llangattock turned up this rarity:
Narrow-leaved Water-plantain, Llyriad-y-dŵr culddail or Alisma lanceolatum

Sue has been recording an ancient lane near her and finding a rich and varied list including:
Fringecups, Clychau’r clawdd or Tellima grandiflora

Meanwhile I was out doing general recording and the like with a few highlights:
Pepper-saxifrage, Ffenigl yr hwch or Silaum silaus
(rather rare) at Llangorse lake meadows.

Finding this which we don't often see:
 Pale Persicaria, Canwraidd y dom or Persicaria lapathifolia
picture Anne Griffiths

 And a valley with a lot of
Carline Thistle, Ysgallen Siarl or Carlina vulgaris

And a tiny:
 Devil's-bit Scabious, Tamaid y cythraul or Succisa pratensis
near a base-rich spring flush and just managing to get a flower out before the sheep notice.

Then last Sunday on a walk I spotted:
 Tasteless Water-pepper, Y dinboeth ddi-flas or Persicaria mitis 
Not recorded much in Wales apart from the Snowdonia park and Monmouthshire. This is the first record we have in our county since one other in 1927 near Coelbren. I was lucky here as there is plenty of the common (Bitter) Water-pepper around and the plant I first saw was quite prominent. But not to be found two days later when I found the one I photographed above. Three more days later it was much harder to discern the P. mitis plants and I doubt I would have spotted them then if not sure they were there. It develops rapidly and changes from day to day!

Sunday, August 04, 2019

A Bog, a Quarry and Limestone Scree

The bog was right on the southern border of Victorian Brecknock.  It was just as well the weather has been dry as it allowed us to explore it thoroughly and find several choice species that were yet to be recorded since 2000, including masses of Marsh Cinquefoil.

Marsh Cinquefoil, Pumnalen y gors or Comarum palustre (Potentilla palustris)
(OK - I cheated - we've missed the good flowers, despite seeing a lot of this species, in Brecknock this year - this from Rhos Goch in Radnorshire a while back...)

This had us temporarily scratching our heads:
Bogbean, Ffeuen y gors or Menyanthes trifoliata

There were plenty of leaves about so we had already recorded it but didn't immediately recognise the fruiting inflorescence.

It was nice to stumble upon this:
Bifid Hemp-nettle, Y benboeth hollt or Galeopsis bifida

Books give the impression this is about as common as Common Hemp-nettle but that isn't my experience - of course for a large part of the year with no flowers it is impossible to tell which species you have. But when they do flower, in my experience, more than 10:1 they are the correctly-named "Common" species. Even the excellent Vegetative Key by John Poland gives up on this one - you need a flower.


Then a trip back to the disused quarries on the Brecon - Penderyn Road to collect this hopefully to confirm it with the referee.
(Possibly) Ostenfeld's Eyebright, Effros Ostenfeld or Euphrasia ostenfeldii

We went up to the peak above the quarries (which incidentally appear to have become disused before 1885 judging from old OS maps) - finding a few unexpected gems at the top such as Lady's Bedstraw and Green Spleenwort).

There were small sections of Limestone pavement up there and more areas of broken up pavement.
- with a few plants such as Herb-Robert in the crevices (or grykes) and rather unexpectedly:
Dog's Mercury, Bresychen y cŵn or Mercurialis perennis 


A trip to Darren Fawr and the area around was again for various purposes including mopping up a few missed species.

Braving the roadside was worth it for this and other gems on the lower slopes:
Pearly Everlasting, Edafeddog hirhoedlog or Anaphalis margaritacea

And one species we had almost given up hope of seeing was finally spotted by Anne after I had scanned this treacherous slope (of lime-burning spoil?) too perfunctorily.

Musk Thistle, Ysgallen bendrom or Carduus nutans

And, in the quarry, this Lizard was basking on an old pallet.
A male Common or Viviparous lizard, Zootoca vivipara

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A Summary

Llangorse - the second day of BSBI Plant Families course where participants were asked to work out which family the many plants that grow there belonged to - this one was tricky:
Common Meadow-rue, Arianllys or Thalictrum flavum

Then some explorations at the edge of the SENTA range to find some Atlas targets including:
White Sedge, Hesgen benwen or Carex canescens
This was right by the tree we selected for lunch after some searching of delightful spring flushes abundant with:
Marsh St John's-wort, Eurinllys y gors or Hypericum elodes
- not really flowering yet but on the verge - a picture of the flower from somewhere else:
Later we found:
Common Butterwort, Tafod y gors or Pinguicula vulgaris
- and driving home traffic lights at roadworks stopped me right by:
Agrimony, Llysiau’r dryw or Agrimonia eupatoria 

Then an exporation in and around Traeth Mawr near the Visitor Centre for various missing species. All pictures from Arlene as I didn't take any: (These were not necessarily missing species for the Atlas - just worth a photo!)

Lesser Water-plantain, Llyriad-y-dŵr bach or Baldellia ranunculoides
(In more places than I remember from before)

Bog Pimpernel, Gwlyddyn-Mair y gors or Anagallis tenella
This was one we particularly wanted as yet to be recorded for the area since 2000 - found exactly where previously recorded and there was plenty in the lane.
Black Bryony, Cwlwm y coed or Tamus communis

Cross-leaved Heath, Grug croesddail or Erica tetralix

Shoreweed, Beistonnell ferllyn or Littorella uniflora

Creeping Willow, Corhelygen or Salix repens