Saturday, 27 October 2012

Las Ynys

Heather beside the ditch with abundant Apium nodiflorum

It must be autumn!  Only two of us ventured out on a lovely autumnal day in bright sunshine.  We parked on the edge of the planted area near the council tip at  Morfa Harlech and botanised that area and the busy roadside first. It was a relief to turn off at Ty'n yr Acrau to cross pasture land and reach the first of the drainage ditches which criss-cross this flat area between the sea and the higher land on which Harlech Castle is built.

Image from Wikimedia commons

There was so much to see that it seemed appropriate to have lunch while we worked the ditches and banks.  The most exciting find was another first Vice-county record - Rigid Hornwort, Ceratophyllum demersum.  Arthur Chater, in his flora of Cardiganshire, says that this is rarely native there, and is in fact rare in Wales.  However we felt that the plant looked quite at home here and there were no alien species in the immediate habitat such as Elodea.  It is such an architectural plant that this engraving print seems quite apt.

One of the drainage ditches

Other good plants in these ditches were Alisma plantago aquatica, Water-plantain, and an abundance of Apium nodiflorum, Fool's-water-cress.  The quality of the habitat was delightful in spite of the deposit of reddish fine sand which coated many of the plants. The banks were sandy too and carried such surprises as Erodium cicutarium, Common Stork's-bill, more usually found  in the dunes, and Spergula arvensis, Corn Spurrey.
We walked as far as the railway line where we found some weedy species like Lepidium heterophyllum, Smith's Pepperwort and Vicia hirsuta, Hairy Tare, and then took the long driveway back to the car park, while the sun gradually disappeared behind the building clouds.

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