Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Looking for threatened plants

On Monday, Polly Spencer-Vellacott* and I went to look for Meum athemanticum, Spignel, one of this year’s Threatened Plants, on a known site near Llanuwchllyn. 
* [see]
 It is thriving on the raised banks surrounding the two fields, which are perhaps overgrown walls from the past.  Here, in spite of added fertility, it seems to be surviving well:  we managed to avoid being sprayed by the slurry spreader during our visit! The photo is not very clear, but shows the brilliant green of the plants standing out among the duller green of the surrounding vegetation.

We estimated the populations in thousands and at all stages of development with plenty of young and non-flowering plants.  In one field we also found Stachys officinalis, Betony and a very few Rhinanthus minor, Yellow Rattle, plants.

Some of the fields we crossed to get there are undrained and are rich examples of such wet habitats – we were delighted to find Crepis paludosa, Marsh Hawk'sbeard and Dactylorhiza maculata, Heath Spotted Orchid, among the Sphagnum, Bog Moss, Vaccinium myrtilis, Bilberry, Succisa pratensis, Devil's-bit Scabious  and Eriophorum vaginatum, Hare's-tail Cotton-grass.  These nice finds rounded off a successful afternoon’s recording very happily.

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