Plant Survey 2018
Using the same Area plan as last year, Sue Hayes and I have completed the 2018 Plant Survey of Darrick and Newstead Woods.
There are 14 “Areas” grouped broadly into Meadows (4), Wet Areas (3) and Woods (7). Please see attached map. Inevitably of course, the meadows have woods or shaws on the boundaries and the woods have wet areas or open glades/ woodland edges etc. but the areas are fairly well defined geographically.
In 2014 we identified some 196 species; in 2015, 288 species and in 2016, 321 species. In 2017, we were up to 328 species and this year, rather to my surprise, we are up to 345 having added 17 although not all have appeared this year. I should perhaps say that just because we don’t see any particular plant one year, I don’t delete it from the list because it may be either that I haven’t found it or it may not have fully developed enough to be seen e.g. biennials or orchids that only appear when conditions are suitable.
The new species identified this year are:
110 Columbine 305 Box
114 Common Poppy 320 Shining Crane’s-bill
114 Welsh Poppy 366 Vervain
120 Wych Elm 389 Buddleia
144 Red Campion 392 Great Mullein
152 Sticky Mouse-ear 394 Foxglove
178 Trailing St John’s-wort 402 Wall Speedwell
210 Hairy Bitter-cress R14 Downy Oat-grass
—- Bay (Laurus nobilis)
Page references are to: The Wild Flower Key ———————- by Francis Rose
or: Grasses, Sedges, Rushes and Ferns — also by Francis Rose
Things we have noticed:
- The weather has been distinctly odd this year: very cold (snow in March), very wet then hot in April, then cold, then a heatwave and dry since May until recently. The bluebell season was very poor. Early Purple Orchids gave a good display but the rest of the orchids were largely lost in the grasses. No Pyramidals at all in Newstead Meadow and only one Common Spotted. Lots of Southern Marsh and Common Spotted in Broadwater Meadow but very hidden in the grass and not growing very tall. There were a few Pyramidals and Common Spotted in Tubbenden Meadow – but again quite overwhelmed by grasses.
- Having rediscovered the large patch of Creeping Cinquefoil in Newstead Meadow last year, I was somewhat surprised to find an even larger patch of it nearby this year — although it isn’t any easier to find in the long grass.
- The moles in Newstead Meadow, after a late start (very dry, no worms) have been busy again in October and I look forward to seeing what seedlings develop in their tailings.
- The Amphibious Bistort flowered this year. Oh dear.
- Where the Friends have been working in the Triangle, removing bramble and heavily overgrown ivy – and no doubt churning up the earth, Red Campion, Great Mullein and Foxglove have appeared for the first time.
- Similarly, where the Friends were working to remove bramble and blackthorn behind the houses near the Plane Crash site, Common Red Poppy has popped up in the disturbed and exposed ground.
- Welsh Poppy is a new species and has had a very good year. It is all over the Stables End entrance and in the gulley behind Brian’s house (and has popped up in my garden too).
- Bay (Laurus nobilis) is not normally considered a native wild plant but since I can see it in 5 of the 14 Areas of DNW, I have included it in the Plant Survey. It appears to be becoming naturalised!
- Black bryony has been quite prolific this year, thankfully not in my garden. It has strong white roots that go deep.
- A very poor year for walnuts and chestnuts – just too dry. (Poor squirrels.)
Our very grateful thanks are due especially to Judy John who has been the final arbiter of identification and to the members of the Thursday work party who have contributed to our lists by acting as extra pairs of eyes.
Christine Wallace 5/11/2018