Monday, 21 September 2015

Caucasian Penny-cress found at Harrogate

Kevin Walker has sent news of a huge colony of Caucasian Penny-cress (Pachyphragma macrophyllum) on the Oak Beck, downstream of the RHS Harlow Carr gardens, Harrogate. He managed to track it for approximately 2km of watercourse so it is clearly well established. This is the first VC64 record.

Caucasian Penny-cress is a rare garden escape, spreading by rhizomes. While its flowers are attractive in early spring its pungent smell is much less welcome. Kevin took the following photo back in the spring.

Oak Beck has long been known as a hotspot for garden escapes. Last year Mike Wilcox found both American and Asian Skunk-cabbage (Lysichiton americanus and Lysichiton camtschatcensis respectively), Aconite-leaved Buttercup (Ranunculus aconitifolius) Coral-root (Cardamine bulbifera), Fly Honeysuckle (Lonicera xylosteum) and Madeira Holly (Ilex perado) to name but a few of the more unusual. The escaped Coral-root is particularly prolific having established in the Nidd Gorge also.

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