The seasonal visit to EGG, this year in Liverpool, was appended with a short stopover at Ness Botanic Gardens. The purpose of this visit being the collection of Oxalis and Cardamine plants to form the basis of my initial taxonomic study. Our tour of Ness' glasshouses and polytunnels was assisted by Tim Baxter, the garden's botanist. In the last polytunnel of our tour my supervisor John Warren spotted a strange nettle growing in a number of the large planters; a nettle with a crucifix of short purple racemes of male flowers atop a small, annual and almost stingless plant. After some fruitless discussion as to its identity, I bagged two of the four plants for later determination. Flora Europea revealed the plants to be Urtica membranacea, previously known as U. dubia. The first UK record of this southern European species was made in Warwick in 2006 and there have been a scattering of other records across the UK in the intervening years. The species has previously been recorded in Pensby about five miles further along the Wirral.
|Urtica membranacea, Ness Botanic Gardens, |
VC58, SJ 29727 77557, 01/04/15