Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Daventry library

Daventry has a very poor library. I do not blame the librarians, they do their best. But they face day-to-day problems with regards to funding and I make very little use of the facilities. However, this same funding problem has led to the surroundings, particularly to the rear of the premises, becoming very neglected - and wildlife has taken advantage of the situation.
Some blackthorn, Prunus spinosa, bushes nearby have been 'infected' with Eriophyes similis. There is nothing unusual in that, but I have never seen such an overwhelming attack.
Blackthorn galled by the mite, Eriophyes similis. Near Daventry Library,
30 May, 2017
The galls created by this mite were on every leaf with, as is usual, most formed at the leaf edge and although galls normally have little if any effect on the general health of the host an infestation of this magnitude must surely be debilitating.
A closer view of the galls.
Oxford Ragwort, Senecio squalidus, had colonised waste ground, its golden flowers much appreciated by insects seeking nectar. The story of this species, with its remarkable, spread across Britain has been well-documented and I have told the story elsewhere in these blogs.
Oxford Ragwort is common on waste ground.
Daventry. 30 May, 2017
It is closely related to Groundsel, Senecio vulgaris, and the hybrids arising from these two species are highly complex. So far I have not knowingly encountered any of these hybrids.
Yellow Corydalis, Daventry.
30 May, 2017

Growing nearby was yellow-flowered Yellow Corydalis, Pseudofumaria lutea. It is frequently encountered in towns where it often colonises brickwork and I only mention it because I have, in the last few days, planted its less common relative, Pseudofumaria alba, in our front garden.

Pseudofumaria alba, its less common relative, in our garden.
30 May, 2017

 On waste ground nearby I was pleased to find Honesty, Lunaria annua, in full flower. Despite its specific epithet of annua it is a biennial. This popular garden plant is a member of the Cabbage Family, Brassicaceae and, like many other species in the family such as Oilseed Rape, Brassica napus, subsp. oleifera, it yields oil.
It is not yet, as far as I am aware, being grown commercially for this purpose but the oil from Honesty would appear to have valuable potential both medicinally and as a specialist lubricant. What a lovely sight a field if it would make!
Honesty on mauve and white forms on waste ground, Daventry.
30 MaY, 2017
The leaves of  Creeping Buttercup plants, Ranunculus repens, were being mined by the fly Phytomyza ranunculivora. As is often the case the species could only be determined by the distribution of the frass (poo) in the mines. I do have an exciting life!
Creeping Buttercup is commonly mined. Daventry. 30 May, 2017
Earlier I said that wildlife was taking advantage of the situation and sometimes it does this in remarkable ways. A solid brick wall has, at one point, been pierced by a blackberry bramble, Rubus fruticosus, and will, given time, split the structure asunder.
Bramble driving through a wall, Daaventry library in the  background.
30 May, 2017
This doesn't matter as the whole site is due for redevelopment in the near future. And hopefully we'll get a new library!

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