Wednesday 25 March 2020

Fern-leaved Corydalis - a new species for Gateway car park and the vice-county

Mark Duffell kicks off our series of botany during lockdown with an amazing spot in the Gateway car park.  In preparation for the restrictions on movements he went to Gateway on Monday to retrieve some paperwork from the Manchester Metropolitan University office.  Whilst waiting for Jenni, he decided to have a walk round the Gateway car park and make a species list and this is his account...

"I ignored anything obviously planted and only recorded the truly naturalised, e.g. Buddleja growing in the pavement cracks rather than growing (possibly planted) in flower beds. Was pleasantly surprised to see 25 species, including Erophila verna sl. making quite a show on the brick paviours, although with no hand lens couldn’t separate the species.

Most surprising was Corydalis cheilanthifolia Fern-leaved Corydalis native to China. It was growing in gravel against the brick wall, and would have been under at least 50cm of water a few weeks back. Did it arrive previously by floodwaters, perhaps from a car park users boot as seed? It certainly can self-seed in gardens, but this is the first time I have seen it in the ‘wild’.

Excitingly this would appear to be a new vice-county record. Previously there have been 86 UK records, with the closest other record being made by Prof. Ian Trueman and Peter Millett in 2008 in Staffordshire near houses."

Corydalis cheilanthifolia Fern-leaved Corydalis in the Gateway car park, Shrewsbury