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.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Rumex x knafii (Rumex conglomeratus Clustered Dock x R. maritimus Golden Dock) first record for Ireland.

 I was walking through a reed bed and stopped in my tracks and thought a new site for Golden Dock! The more I looked at it, I was not convinced it really was Golden Dock. Then I realised I had both parents growing very close by and in fact I was looking at the hybrid between Clustered Dock and Golden Dock. This is first time I have seen this hybrid since I saw it in Somerset in 1995. It is also the first record for Ireland. Above: whole plant. Below: close up of hybrid.
 The hybrid has some spines, but they are much shorter than those of Golden Dock.
 Above & below: the hybrid

 Above: the hybrid amongst the reeds
 Above: a dead Golden Dock amongst the reeds.
 I then looked in an adjoining field that had been sown with a mix of flax and oats. There was an abundance of Golden Dock (above), really living up to its name.
 In the above picture all the golden colour is Golden Dock, haven't seen this many Golden Docks in one location for a long time. Below: lots of Golden Dock in forefront off picture. Speaking to Roy Watson today, a local botanist, he says that when the drainage ditch was put through the marshy area Golden Dock came up in the 1000s.