Monday, 31 October 2016

Alchemilla glabra (Smooth Lady's-mantle) a new native species for Wexford

 Sometimes I think I'm sent little messages to tell me the plant is there! I saw this lovely grassy slope with gorse bushes and thought I must have a look for Alchemilla filicaulis subsp. vestita (Common Lady's mantle) as the habitat looked suitable, not that this Alchemilla has been recorded in the county for over 25 years or in this area of the county. After looking at the grassy slope I walked across a stubble field full of purple Wild Pansy. There in the stubble was one Alchemilla, just leaves. The adjoining pasture grazed by two horses had lots of Alchemilla. Decided it wasn't A. filicaulis as it looked too large. Took it must be Alchemilla xanthochlora (Intermediate Lady's-mantle) which was found new to the county last year. Once home and having a good look at it, I couldn't fine a hair anywhere on the plant, using various books they all took me to Alchemilla glabra (Smooth Lady's-mantle) a species that has never been recorded in Wexford before. The nearest site is over 40km away on the Kildare/Wicklow border. Returned today and collected more material to send the BSBI Referee. It was one stressful revisit, the two horses went crazy at the site of me and the Great Dane came and had a good bark. The field is large, but joins the farm house.

It was a great finish to the end of the recording season!

Friday, 28 October 2016

Silene noctiflora (Night-flowering Catchfly) first Co. Wexford record since 1992

 I was walking around a swede field today at Ballylusk and came across lots of Night-flowering Catchfly around the margin of two fields. This is only the 5th record for the county. First time I have seen this catchfly in over 20 years. Like other catchflies it is a rather sticky plant. There was also a scattering of Treacle Mustard, another rare weed in the county. A few Corn Marigolds and lots of Corn Mint.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Fumaria bastardii (Tall Ramping-fumitory) var. hibernica & var. bastardii

 This time of year the Fumaria are coming into their own again. Above is a large stand of var. hibernica along a road bank in Wexford. Var. hibernica is slightly rarer than var. bastardii in the county. Sometimes you can see both growing together. Then it is obvious they are different.

Above are pictures of Fumaria bastardii var.  hibernica - note the upper petal wings, which turns up is dark red.
Below - Fumaria bastardii var. bastardii - note the upper petal is pale pink.

Now I have got used to doing the two var. I can normally do then before I get close to the plants as var. bastardii is a even pale pink all over apart from the red tip of the. Whilst var. hibernica often is white grading into a darker pink before the dark red tips.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Misopates orontium (Weasel's-snout) in a Wexford stubble field

 Went and did a bit of recording north of Camolin today as it is part of the county I haven't been to much this year. It was very exciting to find Weasel's-snout in the first field I looked in. Only one plant. First record from the hectad since 1979. It was the best stubble field of the day as it was covered in Field Woundwort and Field Pansy. Also a little Cut-leaved Dead-nettle. Such a good time of year for walking around stubble fields for their weeds.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Echinochloa crus-galli (Cockspur) turning up in Flax and Oat fields in Wexford

 Cockspur has always been a rare non-native grass in Ireland. In Wexford last year it was found in several places. This year seems to be a craze of planting a mixed crop of Flax and Oats. The Cockspur has been found in several of these fields as an abundant weed.
None of these mixed crop fields have been harvested for some reason. Could Cockspur be the next non-native grass to become a common weed of cultivation in Wexford?

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Guizotia scabra ssp. schimperi new alien for Wexford and Ireland

 My BSBI News No. 133 arrived two days ago. Under article 'Adventives & Aliens News , 9' there is a record for Guizotis scabra ssp. schimperi (Sticky Niger) from VC95 Moray by my brother Ian. I didn't even know there was more than one species of Niger. I asked my brother how does it differ from Guizotia abyssinica (Niger) as Sticky Niger is not mentioned in any of my books. Ian said it was hairy and sticky to the touch.
Yesterday I revisited the plant I had recorded as Guizotia abyssinica (Niger) a few days earlier at Screen and sure enough it was a very sticky plant. I had found a new alien to Ireland. I checked on my other record for Niger near Campile and this one was Guizotia abyssinica (Niger).
I now wonder how often plants have been named as Guizotia abyssinica (Niger) when really they were G. scabra.
Also at Screen on on the small area of rough ground were two plants of Ammi majus (Bullwort) (see lower down).
 Above: showing the hairs on stem.
 Above: Sticky Niger with Bullwort behind. Below: Bullwort flower head.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Chenopodium polyspermum (Many-seeded Goosefoot) new species for Wexford

 Yesterday I was recording at Mackmine and came across one plant of Many-seeded Goosefoot on rough ground. This is the first record for the county. A very rare species in Ireland. Known from around the shore of Lough Neagh and recorded once from waste ground in Waterford.

There is a dot on the BSBI DDb map for Wexford from Rosslare, this is an error, the record is supported by a specimen in the herbarium at Glasnevin, this has been renamed as Sea-beet.

A species I used to see often when recording in Somerset.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Hunting for Cuscuta epithymum (Dodder) at its only site in Wexford

 Dodder has been known from the dunes by Lady's Island Lake since 1922. Roy Watson found this site in 2012, it is the only extant site in the county. I have tried a number of times to find it, but no luck, only having a 6 figure map reference to go on, even though the details Roy gave me should of helped me find it. This year Roy gave me a 8 figure map reference. Walking on the track across the dunes with my GPS I matched my GPS reading with Roy's map reference. It took sometime still to find, as there was so little of it. No sign it had flowered this year.

In the above and below pictures you can see the red strands of the Dodder.

 Above and below: the Dodder grows where the two tracks meet, the only area of short turf.