Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Freak Show

I had an interesting potter round the some woods near Aberford (VC64) yesterday, with additional colour added by some interesting mutants and hybrids of common plants.

First up was a variegated form of Water Figwort (Scrophularia auriculata). Not all of the plant was affected so it was presumably a mutation in the growing tip of a side-shoot. Very attractive but unlikely to persist over the long-term.

With a greater chance of persistence was this striking golden form of Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica). I am intrigued to see if this is a stable mutation, so I am growing a little rooted side shoot on to see what happens. Hopefully the parent plant will persist to intrigue others with a botanical interest.

Last find of the day was this Polyanthus (Primula x polyantha). A common garden hybrid, but the shape of the inflorescence caught the eye, with the morphology of a beefed up Cowslip (Primula veris). It did not look planted so I can only assume a bee transmitted pollen from a garden plant to a cowslip in the wood, no mean feat given the nearest garden must be getting on for 500 m away. It is redolent of the red and orange Cowslips that are increasingly seen naturalised (the cultivar 'Sunset Shades'), and which are believed to originate from back-crossing Polyanthus to Cowslip.

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