Friday, November 30, 2012

Brecon gallery

In the absence of even being in Breconshire for most of the last week I am reduced to reporting a few highlights from my existing Breconshire gallery...

Two stars for me are my first ever sightings of the Myriophyllum genus. I found Myriophyllum alternifolium in a lovely clear stream up near the Brecon Beacons Visitor Centre:

Myriophyllum alterniflorum, Alternate Water-milfoil

Nearby was a plant that stumped me for quite a while - a Charophyte - one of the really quite vascular-plant-like ones:
Chara virgata, Delicate Stonewort

The other Myriophyllum was occupying a casual pool in a limestone quarry near the southern Breconshire border:
Myriophyllum spicatum, Spiked Water-milfoil

And, for something completely different...
Nectaroscordum siculum, Honey Garlic

A garden escape but well established and spreading on the old railway line path in Hay.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Winter work

I nearly didn't obey the command from my e-diary to "blog". Haven't been out at botany at all.

But the MapMate patch for Stace 3 finally arrived and was accompanied by useful notes allowing me to double check that my upgrading to Stace 3 was accurate (as possible given my limitations...).

Mostly fine. FloralImages will rightly gain some "sens. lat." designations that most punters will ignore...

And Arenaria serpyllifolia is going to be a nightmare for me going forward (not a favourite family...)

So this is now "sens' lat."

I had trouble enough with the old subspecies - let alone allowing for the possible Arenaria leptoclados in future...

As always anyone who spots a mistake / infelicity on FloralImages and has the time to tell me (politely) will be richly rewarded with my undying gratitude and little else.

I've also back-checked the database for species marked as trees. Interesting that there are some you can set from the family and others you can't (eg rosaceae). So my tree gallery should soon be updated with more "Trees and Shrubs".

Friday, November 16, 2012

Two More Brecon Reserves

I visited Drostre Wood and Coed Dyrysiog* Reserves this week. Both show promise for the spring and Drostre Wood has a very wide mix of tree species. I didn't find any Aspen as promised but have no idea whether to expect that still to be in leaf at all. I must definitely have a good look around in May for a full list. Abundant Yew and Holly though and already it is sad to see so many young Ash whips all ready to fill the many gaps in the canopy. Will they make it ?

Coed Dyrysiog is more spectacular for views and the the lovely sound of the Nant Bran, long before you see it, so steep is the final slope below the path. I must try to get down to the steam side next year !

There was an epidemic of Spangle Galls in one area. Should I have brought one home to hatch ?

Meanwhile I am getting my head around the BSBI DDB and checking Breconshire hectads for record / species numbers - a way to decide which ones to concentrate on first next year. I still haven't decided whether to give them names. "SN86" seems so bureaucratic... I had the Hereford map Centre print me a 1:50000 map of Breconshire VC with the boundary on it. It needed to be printed at 1:56000 to fit it in but it is good to have it all on one map on the wall.

* Google wants this to be "Dysprosium" - would it were as this is the Achilles heel element of the electric / hybrid car industry (it's used in super powerful motor magnets).

Friday, November 02, 2012

Not much botany this week

But a bracing walk up to Castell Dinas - one of the many places nearby I hadn't got round to yet. I must say this has the best view / achievement etc to effort ratio of any climb around here:

This was part of a U3A "Lost Farms and Villages" walk. We encountered an unusually gnarled and nearly dead Ash - but nothing to do with the latest threat to the tree I think - just a very exposed location. Why did I fail to photograph it though ? 

The Ash disease threat is, of course, very worrying - so at least from the species' point of view it is heartening to read that there are reports of resistant trees emerging in Lithuania. But it looks increasingly likely that the whole of Europe will face a lack of mature Ash trees for many of the next few decades.