Yesterday I took a visit to a quarry at Llanelwedd to survey Epilobium lanceolatum (Spear-leaved Willowherb) which I found in large numbers. None of my photos are good enough to put here. To my surprise I came across a stand of Telekia speciosa (Yellow Oxeye). If the information I have is correct this is the second record for Wales and the first for over 80 years. Telekia can easy be confused with Inula helenium (Elecampane), both grow up to 2m tall and both have similar leaves and flowers. Telekia is far more common in gardens these days than the Inula.
The brambles/ Rubus workshop is planned for next weekend (25th-27th July) at Rhyd-y-Creuau near Betws-y-Coed. The programme is looking really good, and if the dandelion/ Taraxacum workshop in April is anything to go by it will be very enjoyable.
I'm just posting here on the off-chance that there may be someone out there hoping for a last-minute place, as one of the participants has had to drop out, and so there is a spare single-occupancy bedroom available for the first person to email.
Unfortunately this coincides with the start of my maternity leave, so in my absence, if you are interested please contact Sarah Stille (an email address for Sarah is available on her county webpage http://bsbi.org.uk/merioneth.html as I don't want to put it in more places).
Had a great day out at Tarren yr Esgob in the Black Mountains with the Monmouthshire and Brecon Plant Groups. 23 members attended. Didn't find the species I had hoped to survey, but did see some good fern species. A Grey Squirrel (above) seemed very surprised to see us.
There was lots of beech fern and a good number of patches of limestone fern (above)
For me the best fern of the day was oak fern (above and below) as it is the first I have seen this year and we only found the one patch (in Monmouthshire)
Yesterday I went surveying Wood Stitchwort along the River Wye in Monmouthshire. This site is as close to the English border as you can get, only the bed of a dried stream separates the two countries. The Wood Stitchwort was on the Welsh bank of this stream, only five plants were found.
Many fields along the River Wye were blue, these were fields of borage, not a crop I have come across in the UK before.
Fig-leaved Goosefoot (Chenopodium ficifolium) was one of the weeds of the borage fields.
Stopped to take a look at a white plant growing on a garden wall at Defynnog. At first I thought it was going to be Harebell, but soon changed my mind. With the help of 'Stace' and the internet I ID my plant as Fairy's-thimble. The Fairies must have large fingers! This is a new alien species to me. Creeping along all the joints in the wall. All the plants had white flowers, apart from one clump which had blue.
If you would like to book onto this BSBI meeting it is still not to late to contact the leader John Crellin. Detail below.
A joint meeting with the BSBI and Brecknock Wildlife Trust. Steph Coates (Conservation Officer at the Wildlife Trust) and John Crellin (Joint BSBI Vice-county recorder for VC42) are leading the meeting on Saturday 12th July to record as many species as they can at and around the site. The farm is a National Trust property and Beth Heasman will be with them from the Trust.
They aim to start at the farm at 10.30 am for a full day’s exploration of the varied habitats which will include the gorge of the Nedd, meadows and marshy pasture. Lunch will be taken at a small area of limestone pavement within the farm. You should be able to go down into the Nedd gorge to explore it from below as well as following the cliff top for a while where the trees growing in the rock may be appreciated. The climb down to the gorge needs care but is safe. Suitable footwear for the varied terrain is essential.
There is plenty of space for parking at the farm, SN913132, but, if you would rather park in the car park at Ystradfellte then we can arrange to pick you up from there at 9.45. (Please let John Crellin know if you wish to do this.) Steph Coates can arrange car sharing from Brecon if that would help you. Ystradfellte can be reached from Glyn-neath / Pontneddfechan off the A465 Swansea – Merthyr road or from the north via the A470 from Brecon turning right onto the A4215 (sign for Defynnog) and following signs for Ystradfellte. The turning for the Nedd valley and the farm is about a mile south of Ystradfellte on the road to / from Pontneddfechan. (The sign says “Nedd Valley Single”.)
They aim to finish at about 4.00 pm and Steph Coates and John Crellin wondered if others might like to meet afterwards at the New Inn in Ystradfellte (https://www.facebook.com/thenewinnystradfelte/timeline) where Cream Teas are apparently on offer – or even for a meal. Please John Crellin know if you would be interested and John will phone the pub to check what is available and book if necessary.
Joint BSBI Recorder for Vice County 42, Brecknockshire
Last year I found this cream coloured (not white) Bush Vetch at Malpas in Monmouthshire and since have seen it in Co. Wexford in Ireland. The flowers start off cream and turn a pale orange with age. I came across a photo in 'The Wild Plants of Bere, Dursey, Whiddy and other Islands in Bantry Bay' (2013), John Akeroyd. In this booked it has a name Vicia sepium var. ochroleuca Bast. I would be very interested if anybody else has seen this colour form in Wales.