Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Centaurea cyanus (Cornflower) in a bean field

 Finding Cornflower on my last day of recording for the Wexford Flora in 2017 on 13th October was a really joy. There was one plant in a bean field at Pallas. This is the first time I have seen Cornflower as a weed of a crop in Wexford. Normally seen on waste ground or where grass seed mix has been sown. There were lots of Corn Marigolds and Wild Radish in the bean field also.
Below: bean field where the Cornflower was growing. Can just make out the blue of the flower of the Cornflower near the bottom of the picture. Half of the field had been harvested. 

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Galeopsis ladanum (Broad-leaved Hemp-nettle) first record for Wexford

Been looking at pictures on google and went back today to check my plant I had named as Galeopsis angustifolia (Red Hemp-nettle) the other day. As I had expected my plant is Galeopsis ladanum (Broad-leaved Hemp-nettle), a species new to me. Also the first record in Ireland for a long time.

I had two plants on the margin of a stubble field at Craan Upper, if they hadn't been flowering I would never have noticed the plants. Both had their tops cut off when the crop was harvested. Compared with  Galeopsis bifida (Bifid Hemp-nettle) and Galeopsis tetrahit (Common Hemp-nettle), which both have stiff prickly hairs to the touch, Broad-leaved Hemp-nettle feels soft to the touch, the flowers are more than twice as large as the other two hemp-nettles.

 Above: one of the Broad-leaved Hemp-nettles in the stubble field. Below: margin of stubble field where the Broad-leaved Hemp-nettle was found.
 Below: looking across stubble field to margin where the Broad-leaved Hemp-nettle was seen.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Mentha x piperita (Peppermint)

 Peppermint is a hybrid between Mentha aquatica (Water Mint) and Mentha spicata (Spear Mint). Not a common mint in Wexford. I was surprised to find a large stand in a brackish marsh in Wexford Harbour yesterday. It is my favourite mint, always puts on a good show at this time of year. At this site it was growing with Carex disticha (Brown Sedge) and Persicaria amphibia (Amphibious Bistort).


Sunday, 27 August 2017

Zostera marina (Eelgrass) a new site at Bannow Bay

 Zostera marina  is a rare species on the Wexford coast. It was a very pleasant surprise to find a new location within Bannow Bay. This site is on the east side of Bannow Island and is now the largest site in the county. There is also another population in Bannow Bay, but right over in the far west of Bannow Bay. Otherwise there is one other site at Kilmore Quay.





Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Atriplex praecox (Early Orache) a new native species for Co. Wexford and 2nd site for Ireland

 This time of year I spend a lot of time looking at Atriplex as I find them a very interesting species. Most people think they are very boring! Two weeks ago I found Atriplex praecox (Early Orache) as a new native species for Ireland from the very SW corner of Ireland on the shore of Valentia Island, Kerry. Known from a scattering of sites from Scotland and the very north of England. Yesterday I went and had a look at the SW corner of Lady's Island Lake at Rostonstown and there it was again, Atriplex praecox. If you like showy plants, this isn't for you. Has to be one of the dullest rare species out there, most plants are rarely more than 6 cm across, and lay flat on the ground. Generally a reddish-purple in colour, but can be a greenish-purple. Atriplex praecox is said to like sheltered sea lochs in Scotland, certainly plenty of these in the north of Ireland. There must be other sites out there waiting to be found!
 The lower leaves are trullate, in other words trowel-shaped. The bracteoles are only joined at the very base. In both the Wexford and Kerry sites Atriplex praecox grows just above the hide tide mark. The very bottom picture shows the habitat at Lady's Island Lake.


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.