Wednesday 15 April 2020

At sixes and sevens, or even eights

Hopefully you all enjoyed a read of the Spring Newsletter over the Easter weekend, emailed to you via the Google Group mailing list rather than printed and posted, for reasons that don't need explaining.  In case you are not on the mailing list and haven't yet seen it, you can find it on the Newsletters page of the website, just click the link and read it on line.  Or, you can download a pdf copy from Dropbox.

Members continue to find botanical cheer, no doubt aided by the fine spring weather.  Lalage came across this fantastic patch of Paris quadrifolia, Herb-Paris on Wenlock Edge during a woodland exercise walk.  Always a super plant to find, indicative of ancient woodland and preferring base rich soils.  There are plants with four, five and six leaves visible in this picture:

The flower is in the middle, interesting rather than showy but with leaves like that what does it matter!

Staying in the woods, Anemone nemorosa, Wood Anemone also seems to vary quite a lot with the number of petal-like sepals, here there are six, seven and even eight sepalled specimens:

Likewise Ranunculus ficaria, Lesser Celandine, in this patch on the edge of the Long Mynd is also quite variable, here with eight and eleven petals:

Peta spotted some Lamiastrum galeobdolon, Yellow Archangel, the real deal ancient woodland indicator, unlike the variegated spp argentatum garden escape which is galloping along our hedgebanks.

Pirkko found the hybrid, P. x polyantha, False Oxlip growing with Primula veris, Cowslips and near to the other parent P. vulgaris, Primroses:

Moving out into the open Pirkko also found the diminuitive Erophila verna agg, Common Whitlowgrass on an almost bare limestone path in Nantmawr:

Don't forget that this is actually a group of similar looking species but you will be relieved to know that the aggregate comprises only three species, unlike the infernal dandelions, so is actually quite do-able.  Sarah Whild would love to have your records: E.verna, E. gabrescens or E.majscula, please send herbarium specimens with these records though.  Check out the BSBI Erophila plant crib for a key and images on the VC77 botany website.

So just to end on a blue note, in colour but not in spirits is the lovely Veronica filiformis, Slender Speedwell: