Thursday, April 13, 2006

Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem

I failed to find this last year - but it turns out I was right time and very nearly right place then. The Somerset Atlas, as always, was a little vague about exactly where this site was and both I and Howard Parsons tried first on the wrong side of the valley in question, only to pass by the actual site exhausted at the end of the day, in my case last year and in his case this.

This year I stumbled upon it straight away - that's the way botanical luck goes - and realised straight away that this must indeed be an often-overlooked flower even in parts of the country where it is more common.

The leaves could be Bluebell until you inspect closely and the flowers are green from above. Also it is not a plentiful flower-er except (reportedly) in special years. This year many seeds had germinated which we both were at pains not to damage. There were signs of cropping by deer (probably) though which is a worry for the site long term.

I have visited twice now - but yet to get the right conditions for a fully open flower - so more images may yet be to come.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Plants in the sea

In my quest to cover as many of the botanical families that grow in the UK / Ireland as I can* I could not pass up an invitation to accompany David Fenwick to see some Eelgrass he found in March.

This grows truly in the sea (very unusually for a vascular plant which is what I am mainly about) and you need a very low tide to see it sensibly and hopefully photograph it, assuming you are not equipped with an underwater camera.

The tide was predicted to be at its lowest for the year when we went to Looe but I soon found that shops had been flooded in the morning - suggesting a tide that had been "pushed up" by the wind. We found the Eelgrass but it never fully uncovered thanks to the brisk southwesterly wind behind the tide but nonetheless I tried out my new "glass-bottomed bucket" for such circumstances - with moderate success and a lot of ideas for improvements in technique next time...


* Possibly silly this - as I suspect the powers that be are about to recast the families in a big way - see my note at Info: Liliaceae.