Monday, 22 April 2013

Late April Miscellany

The weather forecast had indicated warm and sunny weather today so, in chilly conditions under a grey sky, I set out for the Pocket Park. A single plant of Anemone blanda was in flower on a bank overlooking the cricket pitch. This species, from South-east Europe is reasonably hardy and should persist in this spot. 
Anemone blanda at Byfield. 22 April, 2013
Sweet Violet, Viola odorata.
Byfield 22 April, 2013
Only a few feet away grew a swathe of Sweet Violets, Viola odorata. This species is best known in its  original violet colour but around Byfield the white variant is more common. The sweet scent is a good means of identification but the purple spur, particularly clear on white specimens, is also diagnostic.

Sweet Violet showing the purple spur  (on the right).
Byfield, 22 April, 2013

Purple Dead-nettles may sometimes flower throughout the winter, perhaps hoping to entice the odd bumble bee, but this winter has been particularly hard and they gave up the struggle. However, they are now back in bloom and there are bumble bees around to reward their effort. This annual is always assumed to be native to Britain but I have nagging doubts; I have never seen it in anything other than a cultivated or disturbed habitat. Druce, in his "Flora of Northamptonshire"(1923) also appears to have had his suspicions, describing it as "native or denizen". He uses the word denizen to indicate a plant which might be unable to survive without the help of man.
Purple Dead-nettle Lamium purpureum
Byfield Pocket Park 22 April, 2013
So, there were a few plants in flower but nothing unexpected. A bramble leaf mined by the Golden Pygmy Moth Stigmella aurella and the trunk of an Ash Tree bearing Cramp Balls were all familiar and yet reassuring. The winter had done its worst but things were recovering; we were back on track.

Mining of a bramble leaf by the micro-moth
Stigmella aurella. Byfield Pocket Park  22 April, 2013
Cramp Balls. The  fungus, Daldinia concentrica
on the trunk of an Ash tree
Byfield  22 April, 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment