Wednesday, 8 July 2015

St Aidan's Part II

There is much more to St Aidan's than obscure species of rush! The wetland habitats are extensive and surrounded by grasslands that are in peak bloom at the moment.

One of the most prominent species currently in flower is Chalk Knapweed (Centaurea debeauxii) which is not uncommon on the lighter soils to the east of Leeds, but the plants here undoubtedly came in with the seed mix that was sown over most of the site during restoration of the former colliery.

The grasslands also support a range of legumes, including several robust fodder forms of native British species such as Bird's-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus var. sativus), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense var. sativum), and White Clover (Trifolium repens var. grandiflorum). There were also several large monospecific stands of a very large form of Spotted Medick (Medicago arabica), again probably a fodder selection. The Medick had gone to seed and was smothered in its characteristic coiled seed pods.

Another native legume present was Zigzag clover (Trifolium medium) with its large bright pink flowers and distinctive elongated leaflets.

I wasn't the only one enjoying the flowers.

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