South-east Yorkshire, v.c. 61: News

SE64T - Wheldrake Wood

Geum After one of the driest Aprils on record and an equally arid start to May, we were treated to a restoration of nature's fluid balance. Despite the rain, four stalwarts (?) proceeded with the planned exploration of Wheldrake Wood in steadily deteriorating weather and although the conditions were not conducive to overt enthusiasm we did enjoy several hours of interesting botany; John's knowledge of forestry trees bumping up our list of conifers considerably. With the exception of some Marsh Orchids and a couple of plants of a steroid-fuelled Geum (provisionally identified as G. macrophyllum, see picture), we didn't find anything particularly exotic but with a total of over 130 taxa we were well satisfied with our expedition.

Richard Middleton, 19 May 2017

Cyrtomium falcatum

Cyrtomium falcatum John Killingbeck and Gabrielle Jarvis have made an interesting discovery in Hornsea this month - Cyrtomium falcatum (House Holly-fern) growing with Asplenium scolopendrium (Hart's-tongue) on a shady wall. It would be very easy to overlook this alien fern which is a relatively recent addition to our vice-county's flora.

Richard Middleton, 14 March 2017

SE65W - Hagg Wood, Dunnington

Viola hybrids This tetrad is on the western outer limit of vc61 and is one of the last remaining target tetrads in a hectad predominantly within the adjacent Vice County and occupied largely by the City of York. It has a wide range of broad habitats including standing and flowing fresh water, marsh and rush mire bordering rides through coniferous woodland, arable fields and mixed species hedgerow. Bracken and Rhododendron understorey covered extensive areas of Hagg Wood in the eastern half. Highlights of the day included monoecious Nitella flexilis, our first stonewort record at Local Group meetings. A fallow arable field was notable for both Viola tricolor and V. arvensis with numerous sizes and colour combinations. The terrestrial form of Bulbous Rush Juncus bulbosus with its neat circular tufts; Bog Stitchwort Stellaria uliginosa with its elastic stele; violets prompting differentiation between V. riviniana vs. reichenbachiana vs. odorata; a horsetail emergent from water 'behaving badly' for both Equisetum palustre and E. fluviatile and leaves of Leopard's-bane Doronicum pardalianches each resulted in 'diagnostic huddles', and proved necessity to carry vegetative keys at least in Spring.

Five pairs of eyes recorded 170 taxa which is considered good for an early April outing.

Peter Cook, 13 April 2017

Hagg Wood revisited ...

In his earlier note Peter mentions the healthy field discussions which arose on our recent visit to Hagg Wood. The horsetail debate was to continue for some time by e-mail. None of us was happy with a simple solution and a consensus of hybridity was finally agreed upon - Equisetum x litorale being the preferred taxon. By chance the British Pteridological Society were conducting their AGM in Hull last weekend so Gabrielle volunteered to collect material which could be looked at by the experts. I am delighted to announce that Pat Acock has examined Gabrielle's specimen and pronounced our diagnosis to be correct.

This is the first vice-county record of this hybrid for some time. Now we know it's about we will need to take more care to record what is probably an overlooked taxon.

Richard Middleton, 28 April 2017

How many fingers?

Scan of Saxifrage Yellow may normally be considered the colour of Spring but for the urban botanist it is certainly white. The pavement cracks and corners are now full of small white-flowered plants which can look remarkably similar from a distance - Bittercresses, Thale Cress, Whitlowgrass, Scurvygrass, Shepherd's-purse, etc. Yesterday morning I encountered a dense patch of such plants on the corner of Charlotte Street and Grimston Street, Hull. Very closely crowded and low-growing I did not recognise them immediately so took a small specimen in the hope of Cerastium semidecandrum. Careful examination at home revealed fleshy spathulate leaves,a dense covering of red-tipped hairs and short blunt sepals - Saxifraga tridactylites. (picture - mm scale)
 Ironically, just before encountering the plants I been looking at a fine display of typical Rue-leaved Saxifrage only 100 metres away - the plants discovered last year by Gabrielle! The confusion arose as none of the plants in this new colony bore the "typical" (but clearly not obligatory) three fingered leaves.

Richard Middleton, 4 April 2017