I've been rather distracted by PhD work and recreational entomology but have made a few botanical outings. An late winter visit to Cwmystwyth to see the luxuriant growths of Asplenium septentrionale on the village walls was a pleasant start to the year even if the plants were somewhat browned. Ceredigion supports very significant populations of this species associated with lead mines and nearby villages. With typical precision Chater's lists 2,150 clumps for the county in 2005 of which 336 were in Cwmystwyth village.
|Asplenium septentrionale, |
A month or so later I finally got round to visiting the famous Stanner Rocks in Radnorshire. The visit was a shameless 'twitch' for the rocks most famous occupant Gagea bohemica. Within the UK this species only grows on these rocks and wasn't discovered until 1965 and was only correctly determined by Ray Woods in 1974. This late discovery may possibly be explained by its early flowering though with Stanner being such a well know site for other rare plants and bryophytes it is still puzzling.
|Gagea bohemica, |
Stanner Rocks, 2016
My two other botanical happenings have not been field based. Firstly a trip to compete at the enjoyable if chaotic 'Botanical University Challenge' at Kew where Aberystwyth's monochrome and bearded team was beaten by Reading.
|Aberystwyth BUC team, |
(L-R) Rob Bellow, Sam Thomas, Henry Dewhirst, Jaques Turner-Moss
Secondly I attended a very informative BSBI workshop on Euphrasia with Chris Metherell at Treborth. I've been meaning to get to one of these 'pre-handbook' workshops for some time and it was definitely worth the drive. A good introduction to the terminology and limitations of Euphrasia identification followed by detailed guidance through herbarium specimens of most of the Welsh species made the genus seem almost manageable.