Celery-leaved Buttercup occurring as a swarm in TA32D
On May 12th I spotted Ranunculus sceleratus growing as a continuous ribbon for at least 50 metres along a roadside ditch near Withernsea that had been cleaned out about 2 years ago. I was surprised to see this species growing so robustly and occurring in such profusion to the extent that I returned armed with a camera.
During our last 5 years of intensive recording I have no recall of seeing any more than a single plant and note that we have sightings from only about a half of the tetrads for which we have a record pre-2000. Given that this observation came as a surprise to me, I suspect that the species is in rapid decline across the Vice County.
Peter J Cook, 14 May 2018
Carnation Sedge (Carex panicea) in TA41
On 6th May I surveyed a small area of marsh on the berm of the Humber flood defence bank at Kilnsea (TA41D), which is now part of the new Kilnsea Wetlands reserve overseen by the Easington Biodiversity Study Group, headed by the Environment Agency. The marsh is at the eastern end of a borrow-pit that is notable for interesting species including Sea Rush (Juncus maritimus) and Distant Sedge (Carex distans). I chose a good time to visit for I found a strongly glaucous sedge with male spikes hanging heavy with pollen-shedding anthers. It was clearly not Glaucous Sedge (Carex flacca) and to my surprise I found it had leaves tapered to a trigonal point, the clinching vegetative field character that differentiates C. panicea from C. flacca and C. nigra.
At home I looked up C. panicea in Crackles' flora and was surprised to find a 'spot' for it in TA41C. There’s only one place in TA41C with habitat similar to Kilnsea Marsh so on 10 May, with obsessive-compulsive fervour, I headed down to the eastern end of Kilnsea Canal. Within a minute of setting foot there I found Carex panicea only a few metres from C. distans and Juncus maritimus. A mirror image!
C. panicea is not common in Holderness, though may be overlooked.
Peter J Cook, 10 May 2018
Fumaria parviflora - a posthumous identification
This note is more history than news and is published posthumously for Dr Eric Chicken. In May 2010, Eric wrote to me sending a sample of a fumitory that he had collected on waste ground at Kelleythorpe. It had small white flowers tinged with pink and minute irregularly serrate sepals. Identification had eluded Eric's expertise. Fumaria vaillantii was one of his suggestions, and was a very strong contender, but the extreme rarity of this species meant that we needed more material and referral for expert opinion. We agreed to agree that we would never identify it satisfactorily without mature fruit.
In August 2010 I collected some fruiting material from the same place but could not meet up with Eric on the same day, later finding that he had been admitted into hospital. I visited him on 23 August, and he passed away the following day. I subsequently forgot where I had put the specimen and gave no more thought to identifying the plant until Richard published his note about F. vaillantii in June last year. My pressed fell from between the pages of a book on 3 January 2018 and re-opened the debate again, albeit with myself.
The bracts were the same length as, or often longer than, the fruiting pedicel which very soon confirmed the identification as F. parviflora. However, what about the pink coloration? Stace (2ndEdition) comments that the flowers of F. parviflora are, "white or very pale pink". The fruits were the shape described for F. parviflora and contained well-formed seeds so hybridization was discounted.
Although not as rare as F. vaillantii, F. parviflora is listed in our vc61 Rare Plants Register and I think Eric would have been just as happy with this conclusion.
Peter J Cook, 3 January 2018