Thursday, 24 October 2013

National Botanic Gardens Autumn '13

I've been based at The NBGW for the last month as my MPhil deadline is fast approaching and it helps to be far from the myriad lights of Aberystywth. Most of my time has been spent in front of a computer or with a pipette in hand desperately making up for lost time. However I have been out into the world as the old farm house that serves as accommodation for myself and a few other students is a short walk across the gardens and through some damp cattle fields. On these twice-daily trips I've noticed a few plants beyond those planted by horticulture.

The first of these grows in the slate beds where the path enters the gardens. Veronica peregrina is a small speedwell introduced from North America. Its tiny whitish flowers subtended by long bracts don't leap out but once I'd noticed it I found it to be abundant in a small area but absent elsewhere, perhaps suggesting it to be a recent arrival. The picture below shows a particularly large individual the majority being so small as to remind one of Montia fontana at first glance. It is scattered about the UK with a few centres of abundance (or recoding awareness) including Liverpool and Northern Ireland and is mostly associated with gardens. Only one previous record exists from Carmarthenshire.       

Veronica peregrina,
Slate Beds, NBGW, Sept 2013

Between the gardens and the fields is a long artificial lake with Little Grebes and Teal feeding among a sea of duckweed. One morning I finally got round to fishing out a handful and found three species to be present. Spirodela polyrhiza made up the vast majority but a few fronds of Lemna minor and Lemna trisulca were also present. Lemna minor is, of course, abundant throughout the British Isles but the other two are relatively uncommon in the west of Wales. 

Spirodela polyrhiza, Habit,
Lake, NBGW, Sept 2013

I've been trying to pay more attention to duckweeds as there are a number of species of interest and they often don't get much of a look in. One introduced species, Lemna turionifera, was added to the British list in 2007 in this paper by Richard Lansdown and has since been found in a few places scattered across the south of Britain. Another species, Landoltia punctata, is also mentioned by Lansdown as having been found in aquatic nurseries in the UK but is not yet known from the wild. This very impressive duckweed website has a lot of information on these species and others as well as useful pictures, keys and introductory duckweed material.  

Spirodela polyrhiza, Underside of frond, Lake, NBGW, Sept 2013

Fringing the lake are tall herbs and bulrush. Almost certainly planted but rather pretty none the less is Typha angustifolia. The smaller and thinner of the two British bulrushes this species is uncommon and mostly introduced in the west. It hybridises with the commoner T. latifolia though I could find no evidence of this having happened at the Gardens despite both species growing adjacent.

Typha angustifolia, Lake, NBGW, Sept 2013

Monday, 30 September 2013

Glasshouse Aliens

I've been sorting through my specimens from my early summer survey of botanical garden glasshouses. Among the many unidentifiable seedlings there have been a few species of interest that I have managed to identify. There is a particular satisfaction using a range of piecemeal sources to determine the identity of a plant not included in Stace though it is often impossible to be certain of a determination at the species level of a plant that could have originated anywhere in the world. Below are a selection of taxa that I have at least determined to genus.

Firstly an easy determination, Solanum chenopodioides, which I found growing in a disused propagation glasshouse at RHS Wisely. The vernacular name for this species is Tall Nightshade and it was large forming a messy bush with tough, woody stems. A dense covering of retrose hairs all over is another character of this species. Originating in South America this species is a very local casual in the UK.              

Solanum chenopodioides, Fruits,
RHS Wisely, TQ 06498 57977, April 2013

Parietaria officinalis grew in abundance in many of the Edinburgh glasshouses. This larger relative of the common P. judaica has longer leaves and also differers in characters of the flower and fruit. Very locally naturalised in the UK this species originates from eastern Europe.   

Parietaria officinalis, Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, May 2013

Growing amongst moss intended for orchids and cycads was a small glandular plant with a pocket shaped yellow flower. Research revealed it to be Calceolaria tripartita a South American weed of damp mossy habitats. This species is not listed in Stace but is mentioned in Clement & Foster's 'Alien Plants of the British Isles' as having occurred in the UK a couple of times.    

Calceolaria tripartita,
Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, May 2013

A frequent weed in the public glasshouses at Edinburgh was Fuchsia procumbens. Very different to the large Fuchsia magellanica familiar from hedges and gardens this species revealed itself as a Fuchsia by way of its succulent, barrel-shaped fruits quite similar to those of the familiar species.  

Fuchsia procumbens,  Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, May 2013

In a wet patch at the edge of the Eden Mediterranean Biome there was plentiful Polypogon viridis. I have only recently become acquainted with this grass which, according to the floras, is very similar to Agrostis stolonifera but looks subtly different in practice. I found it growing near Holyhead Port (VC52) and it has recently colonised Bangor (VC49) where it is now abundant along the edges of some streets.

N.B. I've just found this at the NBGW growing beside a track and also in a disused glasshouse. I've taken the opportunity to compare it with Agrostis stolonifera under the microscope. The key difference is in the comparative lengths of the lemma and the paella, equal in P. viridis and with the paella shorter in A. stolonifera. The glumes of P. viridis are hispid all over while those of A. stolonifera just have a few relatively large bristles toward the end of the keel. The pedicels of P. viridis are also hispid while those of A. stolonifera are smooth. John Poland's vegetative key notes the ciliolate margin to the end of the ligule and this shows up nicely on the P. viridis while the ligule of A. stolonifera is smooth. These notes are based on a couple of plants from one population so may not apply to all plants particularly given the variability of A. stolonifera. Now to find the hybrid...

Polypogon viridis,
Med Biome, Eden Project, April 2013

As mentioned in a previous post the flora of the Tropical Biome at Eden was rather confusing. One relatively easy species to determine was Digitaria ciliaris. This, the most tropical of the three Digitaria species naturalised in the UK, is distinguished on characters of the glume and lemma.

Digitaria ciliaris,
Tropical Biome, Eden Project, April 2013

A final plant also from the Tropical Biome at Eden, this time one that has eluded final determination. Clearly a member of the Urticaceae it was also present in the tropical house at RHS Wisely. My best guess as to its identity is the genus Boehmeria but trawling the internet has failed to help choose from the 100 or so species within this genus. So, if you happen to know its identity please do comment.

N.b.- Having DNA barcoded my specimen of this plant I can now say I was barking up the wrong tree looking in the Urticaceae as it came back as a species of Acalypha in the Euphorbiaceae. This large pan-tropical genus derives its name from the Greek word for nettle (akalephes) in reference to its often nettle like leaves making my previous misidentification a little less embarrassing.

Acalypha sp.,
Tropical Biome, Eden Project, April 2013

Monday, 23 September 2013

Coastal Walk, Aberystwyth to Borth

On a sunny Sunday at the end of August I decided to be active for once and walk along the cliffs to Borth. After Constitution Hill and the holiday atmosphere of Clarach I found a heap of waste from the caravan site with a nice assemblage of ruderal weeds. The most noticeable of which were a variety of large 'Chenopodiaceae'. Most of these turned out to be Chenopodium ficifolium mixed with C. rubrum, C. album and Atriplex patulaC. ficifolium is not a very common species in the west of Wales and I had previously only seen it once in the area, in municipal planters on the Aberystwyth promenade earlier this year. Those plants had been diligently weeded before they had a chance to mature so it was nice to see some fully grown specimens.    

Chenopodium ficifolium,
Clarach Bay, SN 58631 84392, August 2013

Chenopodium rubrum,
Clarach Bay, SN 58631 84392, August 2013

A little further on I scraped around on a parched area of short grass in the hope of finding Trifolium subterraneum. I quickly found a large number of recently germinated small Trifolium plants with small hairy leaves. I'm still not sure as to their identity as I'm unclear on the phenology of Tsubterraneum. Hopefully a revisit in a month or so should reveal their true identity. 

(Probable) Trifolium subterraneum,
Coastal hillside N. of Clarach Bay,
SN 58773 84733, August 2013

Returning to the coastal path large stands of Lathyrus sylvestris were showing their last few flowers and an abundance of chunky pods. This mostly coastal species is particularly fond of soft cliffs in the west. Also scrambling around on the cliffs were a few old plants of the invasive Lycium barbarum. This oriental species is the source of the goji berry a recent 'wonder food' craze.  

Lathyrus sylvestris,
Cliffs S. of Wallog,
SN 58917 85514, August 2013

Lycium barbarum,
Wallog, SN 59021 85720, August 2013

Arriving in Borth I had an hour or so before my train back to Aberystywth so spent a while peering into gardens and bits of waste ground along Borth's only street. Not much of note was apparent but a I took a final photo for the day of the small pallid flowers of Malva neglecta growing in someone's front garden.

Malva neglecta,
Borth Main Street, SN 60 89, August 2013 

Friday, 20 September 2013

Western Scotland

At the end of July my girlfriend and I set off on an ill-fated holiday to the Isle of Skye. We'd hired a car and the plan was to drive up at a leisurely pace and camp wherever we fancied. As it turned out the weather was not in our favour and we soon ran out of both steam and money and retreated south. As a result there wasn't much opportunity for botany.

Our first stop on the route north was the shores of Loch Lomond. A large patch of the common hybrid Stachys x ambigua was in full flower. Though not visible in the picture below the slightly stalked lanceolate leaves distinguish it from either parent. The delicate heads of Carum verticillatum were scattered about by the water with their distinctive whorled leaves.

Stachys x ambigua, 
W shore Loch Lomond, July 2013,

Carum verticillatum, 
W shore Loch Lomond, July 2013,

A little further north we stopped on the expanse of Rannoch Moor to poke about in the stony tarns. Lobelia dortmanna was flowering, its heads swaying about in the breeze. I puzzled over some very small Ranunculus flammula type plants in the hope of R. reptans or at least the hybrid but eventually gave up on them completely. Back by the car there were a few plants of Rumex longifolius. A common species in Scotland but one I'd only seen a couple of times before.

Lobelia dortmanna,
Loch Ba, NN 31 49, July 2013,

Rumex longifolius,
Near Loch Ba, NN 31 49, July 2013,

A short stop for lunch on the way down toward Glencoe provided the last of the dry weather and a nice sighting of a couple of Scotch Argus butterflies flitting about in a boggy patch by the river.

Scotch Argus (Erebia aethiops),
Near Glencoe, July 2013

The one full day we spent on Skye was so grim that we hardly dared leave the car. The one Skye 'speciality' that can be seen almost without leaving the car is the hybrid horsetail Equisetum x font-queri at its first know UK locality in a roadside ditch below the glowering cliffs and stacks of the Storr. This hybrid between E. palustre and E. telmateia has since been found in a number of other places in the UK. 

Equisetum x font-queri,
Rigg, Skye, July 2013

Equisetum x font-queri,
Rigg, Skye, July 2013

Wednesday, 11 September 2013


Time now for a few pictures of plants I've seen while going about my daily business in and around Aberystwyth. Firstly an alien that I originally noticed this spring. Tall with linear leaves it was scattered around a car park near the railway station. When it came into flower and was immediately recognisable as Narrow-leaved Ragwort, Senecio inaequidens. This species originates in South Africa and is thought to have arrived in Europe as a hitch-hiker in soil on military equipment during the Second World War (1). It is now spreading in the UK seemingly associated with railways with the only  previous Cardiganshire record from the Borth area. It seems well established in the car park where this picture was taken but must have only arrived last year and may well spread through the town over years to come.         

Senecio inaequidens, Aberystwyth,
SN 58561 81570, June 2013 

Aberystwyth Castle sits on a small promontory at the centre of the Aberystwyth seafront. The crumbling walls are covered in flowers including Spergularia rupicola and Ononis repens but the most interesting plant is in my opinion is Asplenium marinum. Usually a species of natural sea-cliff crevices this is the only site where I have seen it growing on mortared walls.  

Asplenium marinum, Aberystwyth Castle,
June 2013 

On gravelly ground inside the castle walls Trifolium scabrum grows in abundance. This species is one of the more local clovers growing mainly on dry, rocky ground near the sea in the south of the British Isles.

Trifolium scabrum, Aberystwyth Castle,
June 2013 

Back again to the carpark near the station. I had been keeping an eye on a single large grass plant growing in  a municipal bed along with a few plants of Senecio inaequidens. A few weeks ago it began flowering revealing itself to be the relatively common casual Echinochloa crus-galli.

Echinochloa crus-galli, Aberystwyth,
 SN 58590 81637, Sept 2013

(1) - European Commission. (2004). Alien species and nature conservation in the EU. The role of the LIFE program. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg.

Friday, 5 July 2013

BSBI AGM Anglesey

I've recently returned from hectic and disorganised foray north for the BSBI AGM. My lack of preparation and planning meant that I was only able to attend a couple of the field excursions. After a lengthy bus journey cumulating in almost missing the excursion coach I finally arrived at the first day's destination: Cors Erddreiniog. This large and varied area of fenland is owned and managed by NRW (formerly CCW). We were met by the long-serving site warden Les Coley and some of his colleagues and split into groups to be shown round the site. 

My group proceeded through the drizzle at the dawdle typical of botanical parties. The marshy ground near our starting point provided immediate interest firstly in the form of Glyceria notata a species that I had previously worried that I was overlooking. Seeing it in situ revealed it as quite distinct from G. fluitans, forming more discrete clumps, its foliage a paler shade of green and its panicles distinctly more diffuse.

Glyceria notata, Cors Erddreiniog, VC 52, June 2013

The next species of interest was the Tufted-sedge, Carex elata. A  local species of fen habitats this member of the C. nigra group stands out due to its tufted habit, large inflorescences and small bracts.

Carex elata, Cors Erddreiniog, VC 52, June 2013

Potamogeton coloratus appeared next. Initially resembling P. polygonifolius until the broad leaves, held to the light, revealed their strong net-venation. This very local species of strongly calcareous waters was first  recognised as distinct from P. natans in the UK by Charles Babington on the Channel Islands in 1839  (Preston, 1995).

Potamogeton coloratus,
Cors Erddreiniog, VC 52, June 2013

After roughly an hour wandering through marshy fen-meadow we arrived at the promised Schoenus flushes. Immediately evident were myriad Dactylorhiza all of which resembled, to varying extents, the fen species D. traunsteinerioides. Some were very typical of the taxon with thin unspotted leaves and sparse asymmetrical heads while others were more stout and symmetrical. While I generally have little time for Dactylorchids the more typical of these specimens were very different from other marsh orchids I've encountered.

Dactylorhiza traunsteinerioides,
 Cors Erddreiniog, VC 52, June 2013

After a brief and midge infested lunch unimproved by the claimed anti-midge properties of crushed Myrica we hopped across Carex elata tussocks toward the day's holy grail. Ophrys insectifera growing, unusually for UK populations, on Molinia tussocks in marl fen. The diminutive plants had recently come into flower and were marked with small red flags making their discovery unchallenging. Despite the literal red flags the size of the group still made it difficult to limit the trampling threat from a enthused crowd of botanists. By this point my camera had taken offence at the conditions making photography difficult through the fogged lens.  

Ophrys insectifera,
Cors Erddreiniog, VC 52, June 2013

As rain began to take its toll on morale we snaked our way around the tempting shelter of a hazel wood. Luckily our interest was held by a small population of Eriophorum latifolium. Appearing remarkably like a strange lilly the drooping, nascent flowers stood out clearly from adjacent E. angustifolium.     

Eriophorum latifolium, Cors Erddreiniog, VC 52, June 2013

A wander through an area of previously improved grassland now stripped down to the underlying marl as part of a fen regeneration experiment was followed by an encounter with a species I had entirely forgotten existed. Hottonia palustris grew among tall sedges in an inundated area intermingled with Cardamine pratensis, a species to which it bears a passing resemblance.  

Hottonia palustris,
Cors Erddreiniog, VC 52, June 2013

The second day began in the dunes at Aberffraw where the plants had advanced considerably since my previous visit. While the pace of the walk was somewhat unconducive to serious botany a number of nice species were still observed. An abundance of Ophrys apifera in their prime grew with plentiful Dactylorhiza purpurella and a scattering of probable hybrids with one of the diploid Dactylorhiza species.

Ophrys apifera,
Aberffraw, VC 52, June 2013

Dactylorhiza x formosa, OR D. x venusta
Aberffraw, VC 52, June 2013

Stabilised  grassland overlying small rocky outcrops at the back of the dunes provided plentiful Botrychium lunaria. Finding the first individual required a short search but it was soon discovered in abundance making it  difficult to look closely at one without inadvertently crushing others adjacent.  

Botrychium lunaria,
Aberffraw, VC 52, June 2013

After lunch a move to South Stack was accompanied by an improvement in weather and an efficient viewing of the two specialities of the site. Firstly the local endemic subspecies Tephroseris integrifolia subsp. maritima growing abundantly on the steep slope between the shear cliff and the more gentle grass atop the cliff. Nigel Brown provided able leadership and an interesting ecological observation on the species from the book of the week: Hugh Davies' 1813 Welsh Botanology, a very early county flora. Davies observes 

'There is something singular about the particular attachment of this plant to its maritime situation; although it must for ages have annually ripened its seeds, on the south west side of this country, from which point the wind blows about three-fourths of the year, and must consequently convey the downy seeds plentifully into the country, yet we never see a plant of it, at any distance from its favoured ground, though there is a good deal of uncultivated land near, where it might be propagated without interruption.'  

This observation holds true to this day making this subspecies very ecologically distinct from our subsp. integrifolia that mostly occurs on downland in the south of England. However this species is part of a large continental complex the taxonomy of which has not been properly revised.    

Tephroseris integrifolia subsp. maritima,
South Stack, VC 52, June 2013

A short walk across the rocky heath lead us to Tuberaria guttata. This tiny little plant is one of the specialities of Anglesey and, strangely, a species I had not previously encountered. Being a dull afternoon the flowers were not open but it was still exciting. Such a small and specialised plant is always good to see in its niche as it allows one to bring the species to mind in other suitable sites in the future.     

Tuberaria guttata, South Stack, VC 52, June 2013
Davies, Hugh. (1813). Welsh Botanology
Preston, C.D. (1995). Pondweeds of Great Britain and Ireland (BSBI Handbook No. 8). BSBI publications, London, 1995.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Caerdeon BSBI Recording Week

I spent the last week of May on a BSBI recording week at Caerdeon in Merioneth. The week was organised by the county recorder Sarah Stille the aim of the event was to systematically record species from under-recorded tetrads. A pleasant and productive week was had and as well as renewing acquaintances I saw a few nice species and some very nice sites. 

Botanists in a nice field

The first afternoon was spent on a small craggy hill by the name of Foel Offrwm. The mostly acidic slopes produced little of interest until we stumbled across a slightly base rich area of flushed grass among the rough heather and bilberry. Here we found a few plants of Alchemilla filicaulis subsp. filicaulis. This, by far the rarer of the two subspecies, was a new plant for me and one that I had previously been confused by. In reality it appears very different to the vestita subspecies being much smaller and having more deeply divided leaves as well as the characters of hairiness covered by the keys.       

Contouring around the flank of the hill we found more flushes this time dominated by sedges. Among a suite of common species was plentiful female Carex dioica in full flower. This species became a theme of the week being found by many of the recording parties.  

Alchemilla filicaulis subsp. filicaulis,
Foel Offrwm, VC 48, May 2013

Carex dioica (female),
Foel Offrwm, VC 48, May 2013

We began the second day climbing Rhobell Fawr. While it was an enjoyable walk little of interest in the way of plants was encountered and we moved on shortly after lunch. 

The aim of our afternoon was to update records of the rare Stellaria nemorum subsp. montana. All of the UK populations of this species are in Wales and they centre on the woodlands around Dolgellau. Listed as vulnerable in Wales the species has been somewhat overlooked in VC 48 since Peter Benoit surveyed sites a couple of decades ago for his survey of the rare plants of the area. We visited Coed Cynan a few miles to the east of Dolgellau and before long Andy Jones had located a large patch of the plant growing in typical habitat, damp mossy rocks in slightly base rich woodland. Later the same day we relocated another population this time in a roadside ditch near Arthog.    

Stellaria nemorum subsp. montana,
Coed Cynan, VC 48, May 2013

The third day promised well as we had been granted access to Llanbeder Airfield near the Morfa Dyffryn sand dune system. However the airfield itself turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment botanically consisting mostly of semi-improved grassland with fairly low species diversity. Juncus acutus was conspicuous and prickly as ever in the rough edges, its new heads surprisingly colourful. A resting Grass Snake was quickly annoyed by a barrage of clicking cameras and slithered off into the tussocky fescue.        

Juncus acutus,
Llanbeder Airfield, VC 48, May 2013

Grass Sanke, Llanbeder Airfield, VC 48, May 2013

Leaving the airfield the group climbed awkwardly over a complex barbed wire fence and into sandy rabbit scrapes between the airfield and the dunes. This area proved to be of much greater interest turning up a nice range of the small sand dune species of open sandy areas. Among these were a good number of plants of Erodium lebelii. These stood out from the associated E. cicutarium by way of their paler pink flowers and hoary rosettes and were later confirmed with reference to characters of the fruit (see the Plant Crib article for details).

A little further on from the Erodium came the highlight of the week in the form of Hypochaeris glabra. The great excitement of the Welsh botanists wasn't quite matched by those from southern England where this species is more frequent. A new species for me I was surprised by its small stature and dissimilarity from the common H. radicata.          

Erodium lebeliiMorfa Dyffryn, VC 48, May 2013

Hypochaeris glabraMorfa Dyffryn, VC 48, May 2013

The final day of the meeting was bright and sunny and saw us visit Llwyn-iarth where we wandered through some of the most beautiful upland hay meadows I have ever encountered. The star species of these meadows was Vicia orobus. It was abundant throughout the meadows and just coming into flower. Many other nice species were also present though somewhat eclipsed by the Vicia. These included plentiful Leontodon hispidus and Alchemilla glabra. All in all a very pleasant end to the week. 

Vicia orobus, Llwyn-iarth, VC 48, May 2013

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

North Wales

A recent trip to North Wales presented the opportunity for some botanical tourism. Firstly though I took a wander around my mother's garden in Rhiwlas. Over the years I have filled the garden with a range of ferns and in spring  they are at their best, their croziers unfurling in fresh greens. Though not in any way uncommon  Hart's Tongue, Asplenium scolopendrium has to be one of the most beautiful ferns of spring. 

Asplenium scolopendrium,
Hen Ardd, Rhiwlas, VC49, May 2013 

Around the small pond at the bottom of the garden Rough Horsetail, Equisetum hyemale was poking its cones through the mess of Juncus and Agrostis. Elsewhere my Asplenium septentrionale continues to be munched to the edge of existence by the larvae of the Psychoides micro-moth and Gymnocarpium dryopteris continues its determined invasion of any part of the garden it has not yet conquered.    

Equisetum hyemale
Hen Ardd, Rhiwlas, VC49, May 2013

Leaving the garden I visited the woods at Padarn Country Park near Llanberis. Tufts of Hairy Wood-rush, Luzula pilosa were flowering on the woodland floor and the delicate panicles of Wood Melick, Melica uniflora drooped from the slate walls beside the path .

Luzula pilosa,
Padarn Country Park, VC 49, May 2013

Melica uniflora, Padarn Country Park, VC 49, May 2013

Further into the woods I revisited an orchid that I first found a decade or more ago: the Narrow-leaved Helleborine, Cephalanthera longifolia. This rarity normally favours calcareous habitats and its occurrence in these highly acidic woods is explicable only with reference to the multitude of small slate and mortar buildings scattered through these woods. The mortar from these leftovers of the slate mining industry has, over the years, leached into the surrounding soil enriching its pH enough for Cephalanthera to tolerate. Unfortunately my visit was a couple of weeks too early for the flowering season so the picture below is far from exciting.     

Cephalanthera longifolia, Padarn Country Park, VC 49, May 2013

My next stop was Penrhyn Castle, a local National Trust property. This nineteenth century mock-castle was the home of the Pennant family, owners of the lucrative Penrhyn slate quarries a couple of miles further up the Ogwen. The grounds of the castle are the only North Wales site for Southern Wood-rush, Luzula forsteri. This species, as its vernacular name suggests, has a southerly distribution though it was first described from Cardiganshire. It is closely related to L. pilosa but differs from this species in having the branches of the panicle ascendant rather than divergent.

Luzula forsteri,
Penrhyn Castle grounds, VC 49, May 2013

Leaving the mainland I headed across Anglesey to the dunes at Aberffraw. My main purpose in visiting this famous botanical locale was to search for its most famous (botanically at least) resident: Early Sand-grass, Mibora minima. This diminutive winter annual is, apparently, the smallest grass in the world. A rarity in the UK it has its headquarters on Anglesey with a few scattered populations elsewhere on the west coast. I was quickly rewarded in my search and soon realised that at Aberffraw it is abundant wherever the sward is open enough for it to establish.

Mibora minima, Aberffraw, VC 52, May 2013

As well as my target species the bare sandy areas in the dunes supported a rich assemblage of other winter annuals. The dwafed culms and congested heads of (probable) Bromus hordeaceus subsp. thominei were just poking through and the very pretty Sand Cat's-tail, Phleum arenarium was abundant.  

(probable) Bromus hordeaceus subsp. thominei, Aberffraw, VC 52, May 2013

Phleum arenarium,
Aberffraw, VC 52, May 2013

A final wander along the low cliffs to the south of the dunes provided a smattering of flowers. The thrift and primroses of the steep rocks giving way to Spring Squill, Scilla verna in the tight sward atop the cliffs.

Scilla verna, Aberffraw, VC 52, May 2013