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

News > 2022

Field Meeting Report, 9 June 2022
Stonepit Hill and Nova Slack, Sledmere

Bur Chervil After a cold, late Spring the dearth of plants in flower in this upland Wolds valley was perhaps to be expected, but careful searching and vegetative ID skills yielded a reasonable variety of chalk grassland flora. No searching was required to locate the energetic and very vocal herd of cows in one part of the site – they found us!

Perhaps the most interesting record of the day came early on, when a few plants of a small, pale-leaved, white-flowered umbellifer were found on an arable field edge on Stonepit Hill. The first impression was of Cow Parsley which had been affected by weedkiller, but close inspection revealed the characteristic spiny fruits of Bur Chervil Anthriscus caucalis. This plant has been recorded from only four sites in vc61 this century, though formerly more widespread.

Rohan Lewis, 16 January 2023
Photo credit: NBN website – Malcolm Storey

Field Meeting Report, 18 May 2022
Burton Constable Estate

Common Spike-rush and Sweet Flag A well-attended meeting in bright spring sunshine began with a walk across the West Park – sheep-grazed and nearly all grass – then a circular walk around the North Lake. Water plants there included Water Horsetail Equisetum fluviatile, Rigid Hornwort Ceratophyllum demersum and three pondweeds Potamogeton natans, P.pusillus and P.crispus. The marginal vegetation on the east side showed signs of excess nutrient enrichment, but Common Spike-rush Eleocharis palustris (top) and a single plant of Skullcap Scutellaria galericulata were found on the western side, with a large stand of Greater Pond-sedge Carex riparia near the central bridge.

Later the group moved to the East Park, where the "Wildlife Pond", a shallow scrape with much exposed mud was dominated by Yellow Iris Iris pseudacorus, with Celery-leaved Buttercup Ranunculus sceleratus and Brooklime Veronica beccabunga around the edge. A smaller adjacent pond had small amounts of Sweet Flag Acorus calamus (bottom) and Monkey-flower Mimulus guttatus.

Rohan Lewis
Pictures by Gill Smith

Field Neeting Report, 8 July 2021
Rudston South

Venus’s Looking-glass This 1-km length of road verges, on either side of a single-track road on the top of the Wolds, is managed by East Riding Council as a Local Wildlife Site. Despite frequently having to move aside to allow tractors to pass, we managed to record 98 plant species typical of chalk grassland and hedgerow. 19 of these were grasses, including Downy Oat-Grass (Avenula pubescens), Crested Hair-Grass (Koeleria macrantha) and, in a field-margin, the distinctly uncommon Ripgut Brome (Anisantha rigida), spotted by Peter Cook (photo 2). A single bush of a deep pink, glandular dog-rose noticed by Bill Dolling had features of both Rosa sherardii and R. caesia,and might have been the hybrid, previously recorded in the area by Crackles. The adjacent field-margin provided another unexpected find – a small colony of Venus’s Looking-glass (Legousia hybrida) spotted by Gabrielle Jarvis (photo 1).

Rohan Lewis, photos Gill Smith

Field Meeting Report, 20 July 2022
Awnham's Meadow, Bishop Wilton

Saw-wort This herb-rich meadow, managed for hay since at least mediaeval times, has been designated a SSSI on account of its wild-flowers.With the summer drought now well advanced, all trace of spring flowers such as Adderstongue Ophioglossum vulgatum and Brown Sedge Carex disticha was gone. Many Summer flowers such as Pepper Saxifrage Silaum silaus were also over, the predominant colour being purple from a mixture of Lesser Knapweed Centaurea nigra and Saw-wort Serratula tinctoria.

The flowers of Saw-wort were not easy to pick out among the commoner Knapweed, which they resemble, but the thistle-like fruits with long pappus-hairs stood out.

Rohan Lewis, 16 January 2023
Photos of Saw-wort flowers and fruit credit: Gill Smith

Field Meeting Report, 6 July 2022
Hodgson's Fields, Skeffling

Group surveying pond In response to a request from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, we visited this reserve, consisting of five fields of relatively unimproved grassland and including a pond and a tiny copse, and were able to supply them with an up-to-date plant list.

Photograph - Surveying the pond at Hodgson’s Fields, Skeffling (Yorkshire Wildlife Trust).

Rohan Lewis, 16 January 2023

Two species new to the vice-county

Balkan Spurge Balkan Spurge Euphorbia oblongata

A Hull Natural History Society group, on a New Year plant hunt on 3rd January 2022, came across this clump of spurge (photo) on a derelict industrial site in Beverley.The identification was confirmed from the photograph by the BSBI’s Euphorbia referee,Timothy Walker – apparently it is well known for flowering early in the year.

Spreading Mouse-Ear Hawkweed Pilosella flagellaris ssp.flagellaris

In late May 2021, another Hull Natural History Society group exploring the Hornsea Rail Trail near the eastern edge of the city found a small patch of an unusual Pilosella, similar vegetatively and in flower colour to the Common Mouse-Ear Hawkweed Pilosella officinarum, but with taller scapes bearing 2-4 capitula. Their identification of the plant as P. flagellaris ssp. flagellaris using Stace’s flora was later confirmed from a pressed specimen by the BSBI’s Hieracium referee, Brian Burrow.

A recent article in BSBI news (vol.148 pp.54-57) recounts the gradual spread of this plant across Europe from its stronghold in the Carpathian mountains, initially by its introduction into various botanic gardens, from which it then escaped (the first UK record was in 1869, as an escape from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh).The article notes an association with old railway lines – true in this case also.

When not in flower, it would not be distinguishable from P. officinarum; when in flower, the phyllaries with sparse, short hairs distinguish it from the hairier ssp. capitata, endemic to the Shetland Isles.

Rohan Lewis, 11 February 2022

Field Meeting Report, 21 July 2021
Bethell’s Bridge, River Hull

Floating Water Dropwort A small group, depleted by a combination of Covid and other commitments, explored the nontidal part of the Hull River and adjacent drains and dykes. Floating Water Dropwort (Oenanthe fluviatilis) was flowering in some quantity among the boats moored at Bethell’s Bridge (photo), while in the Scurf Dike flowers of Arrowhead (Sagittaria sagittifolia), Marestail (Hippuris vulgaris) and both Branched and Unbranched Bur-Reeds (Sparganium erectum and S. emersum) stood out above the various submerged aquatics. Ray Goulder’s expertise was invaluable in identifying the latter which included Pondweeds Potamogeton lucens, P. friesii and P. crispus as well as Fan-leaved Water Crowfoot (Ranunculus circinatus).

Rohan Lewis

Field Meeting Report, 23 June 2021
Bail Wood, Aldbrough

A small private block of woodland, designated as an LWS in 2010, probably dating from the very early 1800s, in a part of Holderness where woodland is mostly absent. A dense canopy of Sycamore occupies much of the site, and the species list ran to only 77 plants, but we found single clumps of Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina) and Hard Shield-Fern (Polystichum aculeatum) in addition to the more common Broad-Buckler and Male Fern. The only clearing in the wood, made in 2005-06, contained a variety of native tree species planted by the owners, a local Scouting group.

Rohan Lewis

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, 7 June 2021

Field Meeting Report, 24 August 2021
Skipwith Common NNR

Pirri-pirri-bur and Marsh Gentian The excursion, led by Sonia Donaghy, was to the western end of this large reserve.The alien Pirri-pirri-bur (Acaena novae-zelandiae), introduced by servicemen from New Zealand during the second world war, is now present on many of the tracks and in wooded areas, spread by grazing sheep which can accumulate large balls of the hooked fruits on their fleece (photo top).Pillwort (Pilularia globulifera) was seen thriving around two of the small ponds, and in one small area of heathland Marsh Gentian (Gentiana pneumonanthe) was in flower (photo).

Rohan Lewis, photos Gill Smith

FieldMeeting Report, 14 July 2021
Hudson’s Way LNR, Market Weighton

The disused Market Weighton – Beverley railway line on either side of the former Kiplingcotes station had varied chalk flora, with both Common Spotted and Pyramidal orchids. To the west, there was more open, bare ground with Parsley-piert (Aphanes arvensis), Basil Thyme (Clinopodium acinos) and Field Madder (Sherardia arvensis). To the east the line runs briefly through a cutting, with longer grass supporting Yellow-rattle (Rhinanthus minor), Common Restharrow (Ononis repens) and occasionally Common Twayblade (Neottia ovata). The grassland is clearly threatened by scrub encroachment, and a balance will have to be struck in the management plan.

Rohan Lewis

Field Meeting Report, 10 June 2021
Ashlack Wood, Londesborough

This Local Wildlife Site on the Wolds, a private plantation of Beech and Sycamore on what was presumably an ancient woodland site, was first designated in 2008. We found the ground flora in the valley bottom and the whole of the northern limb dominated by nettle and very lush, suggesting agricultural runoff. Most of the ancient woodland plants were in the western part, with Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) and Wood Millet (Milium effusum) reasonably common there. Wood Speedwell (Veronica montana) is scattered throughout, but we found only two plants of Sanicle (Sanicula europaea) and one tiny patch of Wood Sorrel (Oxalis acetosella). Dog’s Mercury is absent altogether in the wood, with Enchanter’s Nightshade (Circaea lutetiana) and Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) dominating the ground in many places.

Rohan Lewis