Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Ulex x breoganii a new hybrid gorse for Wexford

Ulex x breoganii is a hybrid between Ulex europaeus (Gorse) and Ulex gallii (Western Gorse). Gorse is common over the whole of the county. Western Gorse is much more restricted within the county, often being found on the more heathy ground and acid soils. Zoe Delvin the finder said would I like to go and see a gorse she had found, which from photos we thought could be Ulex minor (Dwarf Gorse), a species that has only once been reported from the county back in 1959.

There were 11 bushes of Ulex x breoganii on the side of a disused railway at Mountelliott, a little north of New Ross. The books all say measure a range of flowers, I did this with flowers from all 11 bushes and could see they better fitted between the two species. Ulex europaeus has blue/green stems and foliage and large strong spines, and pale yellow flowers. Whilst Ulex gallii has dark green foliage and week spines and whole plant much more slender, and golden yellow flowers. Ulex x breoganii is somewhere in the middle, foliage is neither blue/green or dark green and the flowers are a deep yellow but not as golden as Ulex gallii. To be sure we sent photos to Jeanne Webb who is very familiar with the hybrid and Jeanne agreed with our ID.

 Below: The proud finder taking photos of Ulex x breoganii.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Calystegia x howittiorum (C. pulchra x C. silvatica) new for Wexford

 Alexis Fitxgerald email me to ask if I knew the hybrid between Calystegia pulchra (Hairy Bindweed) x Calystegia silvatica (Large Bindweed) = Calystegia x howittiorum - that day I didn't. The next day I was driving along in Wexford and saw the above pink flowered bindweed in a roadside hedge, I stopped to get a map reference. On looking at the plant I could see it wasn't C. pulchra as I had expected but the hybrid C. x howittiorum. The next day I stopped to look at a known site for C. pulchra, and again it was the hybrid. The hybrid has never been recorded form Wexford before. The hybrid has pink flowers, bracteoles (see photos below) near to Calystegia silvatica subsp. disjuncta, plus the pedicel has a wavy-edged wing (see photo below) like C. pulchra.

                                 Above: Calystegia x howittiorum left. Calystegia pulchra right.

                      Below: showing the wavy-edged wing of the hybrid inherited from C. pulchra

Monday, 7 August 2017

Pastinaca sativa subsp. urens (Eastern Parsnip) a new parsnip for Ireland

 After reading Alan Leslie's article on 'An overlooked parsnip in Britain' in BSBI News No. 134 January 2017, I started to wonder if the parsnip at Rosslare Ferryport could also be Pastinaca sativa subsp. urens (Eastern Parsnip). I had to wait until it flowered. A specimen was sent to Alan and he agreed it was Eastern Parsnip. This new parsnip has sort of a round stem, but has no deep grooves and ridge like the other subsp. have. Also the terminal umbel on Eastern Parsnip is the same size as all the other heads on the same plant. The bottom picture shows a large patch of the Eastern Parsnip on a bank by all the parked new cars and vans. The area has just been fenced in, much harder now to gain access.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Erica erigena (Irish Heath) on a Wexford heath, a new county record

 I was doing some recording on a heath on Bargy Common when I came across this Erica which I took to be a garden species. I tried keying it out and only came up with Irish Heath. Sent a specimen to Charles Nelson who agreed with my ID. Charles said it is grown in gardens. All the other sites in Ireland are in the North-west. Wexford is the opposite corner. Couldn't see it in any gardens nearby. Will be interesting to see if it spreads.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Tragopogon porrifolius (Salsify) 2nd Wexford record

 Was checking out sites where I saw Dactylorhiza leaves earlier in the year, this morning before the rain got the better of me. Stopped quickly at a monad which I had visited early in the year to add some grasses to the recording card. Very surprised to see a group of Salsify flowering on the roadside at Castlellis. This is the 2nd county record. I wonder if I had seen it when the flowers were closed up if I would have recorded it as Tragopogon pratensis (Goat's-beard)!
 Below - plants on road verge

Monday, 22 May 2017

Luzula multiflora subsp. hibernica

 It was good to find lots of Luzula multiflora subsp. hibernica an Irish endemic today in the centre of a track leading to a disused quarry at Burrow very close to the Wicklow border. This is only the 4th record for the county. It is a much slender plant than Luzula multiflora subsp. congesta. It is more like a hybrid between Luzula campestris (Field Wood-rush) and Luzula multiflora (Heath Wood-rush) as it looks some where half way between the two species. Had to measure the seed appendage, all less than 0.3mm in length. The whole plant isn't as big or as hairy as Luzula multiflora subsp. congesta.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Trifolium ornithopodioides (Bird's-foot Clover) a new site on the south coast

 Bird's-foot Clover is a rare clover in Wexford. Very surprised today to find a new site at Bannow. 15 km from the nearest site on the south coast. I had walked over the clover twice before I noticed it on the bare gravel. There were 58 clumps. Bird's-foot Clover is very easy to over look as it looks like a small patch of non-flowering White Clover, has much smaller leaves. The flowers are very tiny and it is easy not to even notice them. A great find from a place I have been to a number of times over the years.

 Below is the habitat the clover was found in.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Euphorbia amygdaloides (Wood Spurge) re-found in Wexford

 Wood Spurge is not native in Ireland. It has been established in Co. Cork for well over a 100 years. In Wexford it has only been recorded twice. 1872 from near Enniscorthy and in 1955 at Bunclody, both are believed to be garden escapes. Neither give enough information with the record to know where to search. Wood Spurge isn't very commonly grown in Irish gardens. It was the last species I expected to re-find in the county. There was one clump of Wood Spurge on the edge of a patch of bracken near the bank of the River Slaney near Wexford Town. Will be interesting to see if it spreads.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Raphanus sativus var. oleifera (Fodder Radish)

 Fodder Radish was sown in many fields across Wexford in 2016. This year I have started to find them as an escaped from the fields. This one was on a road verge today. Has a large white radish. The crop should have died during the winter, The hole left by the radish should of helped put air into the soil. As the winter was so mild, the radish never died. The bottom photo is of a radish field today, the radish escaped from.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Crocus x luteus (Yellow Crocus) new for Wexford

 I popped out today to check on some dead plants I saw last year which I thought was Garlic Mustard. As expected it was! The surprise was that Garlic Mustard is a new species to my home hectad (10-km square). While looking at the Garlic Mustard leaves I noticed a clump of Yellow Crocus. A new species for Co. Wexford. Not the most exciting find! Must of been dumped from a garden at some stage. Made it worth popping out on a wet day!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Geranium reuteri (Canary Herb-robert) new for Wexford

 Was surprised to see Geranium reuteri (Canary Herb-Robert) self-sown on a roadside wall today near Pollpeasty. This is a native of the Canaries. It has been a very mild winter in Wexford. G. reuteri seems to be hardy as I have had it growing in my garden for 10 years. G. reuteri is like a very large Geranium robertianum (Herb-Robert). I am surprised that two new species have been added to the county list so early in the year.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Taraxacum ronae - first new species for Co. Wexford in 2017

 Taraxacum ronae - the first new species to be added to Wexford in 2017. This is a native dandelion of the midlands of Ireland northward and the southwest of England. Wexford joins the gap nicely with Southwest England. Note the black spots on the leaves. The photos were taken at Knockroe a few miles NE of New Ross. Confirmed by John Richards the BSBI Dandelion Referee. As I found this site on 10th January I went and checked another site yesterday where I had seen dandelions with black spots on their leaves last year, but didn't try to ID at the time. As expected it was the same species. Both sites are on open road banks. Looked at another nearby road bank and there it was again. Flowering nicely at this time of year.

 Flower head about to open.

 Above: underside of flower. Below: whole plant.