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

News > 2020

Plant records

I am happy to receive record by email, and need as a minimum the date, and the location of the record, preferably as an OS grid reference. The database accepts 4-, 6- or 8-figure grid refs, though the last would only be for those using a GPS system. Additional info in the form of habitat, status of the plant e.g. if likely garden escape or planted and quantity is useful.

Rohan Lewis, 12 June 2020

Ammi majus


Pictures: Rohan Lewis

Adder’s-tongue Fern (Ophioglossum vulgatum) – a notable new vc61 record

Adder's-tongue On 16 May I spotted numerous Ophioglossum vulgatum plants in the dappled shade of an Ash plantation within the Hollym Carrs Nature Reserve at TA327245. A second visit made on 25 May, to make notes of habitat and take photographs, was rewarded with the discovery that I had previously located only a small part of a colony occupying an elliptical area about 35 m x 4 m.

This fern species has declined severely over the last 20 years in vc61. By Atlas 2000, there was a record in more than 60 tetrads. However, despite our recording effort over the last 20 years there have been only 7 post-2000 tetrad records with this new Hollym record increasing the total to 8. The Hollym Carrs Nature Reserve is in agri-environmental Higher Level Stewardship, is a designated Local Wildlife Site and is managed to a prescriptive Management Plan. The species will therefore be monitored and, hopefully, survive. If it does disappear, it may be possible to posit a reason why. It is interesting that Compact Rush (Juncus conglomeratus) and Common Vetch (Vicia sativa), both species of low nitrogen soils, were found scattered throughout the colony, and that otherwise open areas were occupied by the mosses Kindbergia paelonga and Brachythecium rutabulum. This might indicate that nitrogenous enrichment is a possible cause of decline as with so many other species.

Peter J Cook, 17 June 2020

Incurved Hard-grass
(Parapholis incurva) in TA31, a new hectad location in vc61

Today I spotted a grass sprawling over a rock on the coastal defence wall of the Humber Bank at Easington, TA 395 169 and recognised it as a Parapholis. Culm tips were ascending and strongly incurved, and even the strongest spikes were still not fully exserted from the uppermost sheath. P. strigosa can have incurved culms so I collected a few shoots for measurement of anthers. At a mean length of 0.68 (range 0.6-0.8 mm; n=6) these were in the range for P. incurva (0.5-1 mm) but too small for P. strigosa (1.5-3.0 mm). (Reference Stace IV). The characters of decumbent culms (Photo 1), only partial exsertion of spike from uppermost sheath (Photo 2) and relatively short anthers clinches this determination.
Until now this grass had only one known location, at Chalk Bank on Spurn (TA41), and was last seen there by me in the 1990s. Subsequent searches as recently as 2019 have not relocated it.

Peter J Cook, 21 May2020

Parapholis incurva (picture 1)

Incurved Hard-grass

Peter J Cook, 21 May2020

Beta vulgaris ssp. cicla var. flavescens escaped in Withernsea

Swiss Chard I rarely get excited about garden escapes but one deserving some of my time to ascribe a name was found on a scruffy grass verge in Withernsea. It was growing through a tangle of knotgrass together with various plantains. Being in the wrong place it was sacrificed for investigative botany.

The arrangement of floral elements places it in the Genus Beta, species vulgaris, the absence of a swollen root places it in ssp. cicla, and the rich colouration (shocking pink through carmine to blood red) with succulent, deeply grooved petioles indicates var. flavescens. This is the fodder beet cultivar, Swiss Chard. There are no basal leaves and the whole plant (see photo) is attenuated, depauperate and has run to seed.

It is now stuck to a sheet of paper as a voucher specimen should this be ever considered recordable.

Peter J Cook, 9 October 2020

Hull City Council’s "wild" flowers

Bude Road A considerable length of Bude Road verge in Kingswood has been sown with a colourful mixture including Cornflower (pink and blue forms) and various colours and species of poppy. These are beginning to fade, and the mix is now dominated by drifts of a white umbellifer with finely-divided grey-green foliage and conspicuous bracts, from a distance resembling an exceptionally tall Wild Carrot. However the plant, unlike Wild Carrot, is completely hairless, and has 1-pinnate basal leaves recalling Pimpinella spp. It appears to be the southern european species Ammi majus, whose english name of Bullwort seems inappropriate for such a graceful plant. It has been recorded occasionally in the past as a garden escape, and if this manages to set seed we could be seeing more of it in the area.

Rohan Lewis, 21 July 2020

Sand Leek (Allium scorodoprasum) re-found in the Wolds

Sand Leek Penny Darmody from Cottingham spotted this striking plant while out running in Hunsley Dale (SE9434), and with help from the BSBI website was able to identify it and contact me.Visiting the site, I found a patch of about 20 plants is in a fairly wooded dale, growing among nettles and tall false-oat grass. The ash trees among which it grows have been been affected by dieback, which might work to the advantage of this plant, normally found in open grassland.

This is only the fourth record for vc61 this century. The site is not far from the junction with East Dale, now densely wooded, but where the plant was recorded by Eva Crackles in 1966.

Rohan Lewis, 20 July 2020
photo - Penny Darmody

Upland Leptinella (Cotula alpina)

Cotula alpina While botanizing in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park on 19 July I pulled off the road onto a parking area West of Egton Bridge at NGR NZ779036, where I discovered hundreds of what first appeared to be yellowed seedlings of Pineappleweed. On closer examination each little plant bore a 'button' flower about 5 mm diameter on top of a very stout scape. The button-like flower was a clue so I looked first to Cotula in Stace IV and soon keyed it out to Cotula alpina. I found the plant at almost every stopping place across NZ70 on the road to Rosedale. In places it also occurred within the closely grazed turf several metres away from the road side.

It is a native of SE Australia and there are three clusters of records for it in the UK (BSBI maps and NBN Atlas). This location in NZ70 is one of them. Clusters of records like this often 'say' more about the distribution of botanists than of plants so keep your eyes open for it. There are currently lowland records for it in Leeds and Harrogate, so it could turn up on the Wolds on our side of Malton.

Peter J Cook, 19 July 2020

Bubwith: Meadow Rue

Thalictrum flavum

Picture: Gill Smith

Bubwith: Pepper Saxifrage

Thalictrum flavum

Picture: Rohan Lewis

Bubwith 17th June 2020

On a warm, humid June day just three of us met, observing Covid-19 precautions, for the first field meeting of the year.

In the morning we explored meadows on the Bubwith side of the Derwent, where winter flooding and spring drought had reduced the grass to half its normal height. Pepper Saxifrage Silaum silaus and Tubular Water-dropwort Oenanthe fistulosa seemed unaffected by the conditions, and stood out against a depleted green sward. Great Burnet Sanguisorba officinalis was not yet in flower, but on the banks of the drains Common Meadow Rue Thalictrum flavum was blooming, with two types of Yellow-cress, perhaps Rorippa sylvestris and amphibia, although without fruits it was hard to be certain, as hybrid populations occur. Quite widespread in the grass were the yellow flowers of what looked from a distance like Cat’s-ear, but which on close examination proved to be large, early-flowering plants of Autumn Hawkbit, Scorzoneroides autumnalis. In disturbed ground by a gate was a small population of Treacle Mustard Erysimum cheiranthoides. Our hopes of finding Greater Water-parsnip were dashed on finding that the Dyon Drain had been recently dredged, and was devoid of all aquatic plants except for a patch of Shining Pondweed Potamogeton lucens.

In the afternoon we transferred a kilometre West to Great Duffield Carrs, part of the Derwent Ings NNR. The reserve was largely off-limits due to ground-nesting birds, but we sneaked in just far enough to admire the drifts of nodding Meadow Barley Hordeum secalinum and to botanise a muddy scrape dominated by Reedmace Typha latifolia and Grey Clubrush Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani . Here we found a variety of common marsh plants, and three sedges not seen in the morning - Brown Sedge Carex disticha,False Fox Sedge Carex otrubae ( both growing around the margin), and Bladder Sedge Carex vesicaria on the mud itself.

Rohan Lewis, 18 June 2020

Parapholis incurva (picture 2)

Incurved Hard-grass

Peter J Cook, 21 May2020