Sunday, 26 June 2016

Recent News - Huntingdonshire

Brian Davis has been to Kimbolton Airfield and refound the Nationally Scarce Slender Tare (Vicia parviflora) after a 20 year gap of records from the relevant tetrad. This species should be kept at the back of ones mind at this time of year when botanising on the clays across the centre of the county, particularly if there is lots of Smooth Tare (Vivia tetrasperma). It often grows with and is disguised by this latter species.

Brian sent the following compare and contrast image which, while I'm sure he won't mind me saying isn't a classically great photo, does show the characteristics of the species (albeit with no mature seed pods to show >4 seeds per pod in parviflora) much better than the multitude of photos viewable via Google.

Slender Tare (left) versus Smooth Tare (right)

Brian also refound Sulphur Clover (Trifolium ochroleucon), another notable, albeit much diminished in recent years, species of the Huntingdonshire clays.

Photo as published on Wikimedia Commons by Bernd Haynold

Meanwhile, Barry Dickerson has been to a favourite spot on his local patch - the area known as railway meadow. This site continues to develop botanical interest and the orchids are thriving this year.

Barry reports 13 Common Spotted-orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii), 72 Bee Orchids (Ophrys apifera), 135 Pyramidal Orchids (Anacamptis pyramidalis) and a single Southern-orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa). A photo of a fine stand of Pyramidals was sent by Barry and is presented below.

Finally, Jane Croft has followed up my tip-off on the presence of Thick-leaved Stonecrop (Sedum dasyphyllum) at Buckden Towers, and immediately returned news of its presence in the Knot Garden. I have seen this species previously on the old wall by the main gate and on the ground by the church. This is the only known site in the county and it was first reported here in 1762. Jane sends this photo.

The tenure of the stonecrop has been nearly as long as that of the magnificent London Plane (Platanus x hispanica) in the grounds. These enormous trees are likely to be the oldest in the country and deserve to be better known. More information is available here.

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