Two weeks ago we met up with the Monmouthshire Botanical Recording Group to explore our common border at Tarren yr Esgob (near Capel y Ffin, which means "Chapel on the border"). It was quite a climb / scramble to get up to the botanically-rich crags where the rare Sorbus (Whitebeam) shared by only our two counties grows:
Llanthony Whitebeam or Cerddin Ewyas, Sorbus stenophylla
This is also one of only two Sorbus species so far discovered that are pentaploid (have five sets of chromosomes per cell) - the other grows at Craig y Cilau, also in Brecknockshire.
Up there we encountered many lime-loving plants - in an area where the Geological map does not mark any limestone but there are "calcrete" layers marked nearby. Anyway the vegetation speaks for itself and is finding the water seeping out of the rocks to its taste. This included a fine selection of the more delicate ferns:
Beech Fern or Rhedynen gorniog, Phegopteris connectilis
Limestone Fern or Rhedynen y calchfaen, Gymnocarpium robertianum
(Note these two are growing together in this instance.)
Oak Fern or Rhedynen dridarn, Gymnocarpium dryopteris
... actually seen only in Monmouthshire at Tarren yr Esgob - but this picture is from the Grwyne Fawr Valley in Brecknock which I visited two days later.
And we were pushing our way through large swards of this:
Lemon-scented Fern, Oreopteris limbosperma
Then last week we went to a farm on the banks of the Wye near Hay to walk part of an old railway line and look at some ponds. The species I photographed were:
Welted Thistle or Ysgallen grech, Carduus crispus
I've only knowingly seen this a few times. I suspect I will be recognising it more in the future after Mike Porter pointed this one out.
Blue Water-Speedwell or Graeanllys y dwr, Veronica anagallis-aquatica
(Or maybe a hybrid of the same - Mike Porter is working on that one.)
Chicory or Ysgellog, Cichorium intybus
A solitary plant on the side of a field.
Scentless Mayweed or Amranwen ddi-sawr, Tripleurospermum inodorum
Edging a field planted with a fodder mix.
Slender Knapweed, Centaurea debeauxii
(A newly segregated species that we are only just starting to get to grips with.)
Rigid Hornwort or Cyrnddail caled, Ceratophyllum demersum
In one of the ponds.
... Many more were seen and recorded.