Tuesday, 3 April 2018

April showers

Regular readers of my blogs know that I never grumble, so when I dropped Chris off in Daventry this morning and set out for a stroll in the rain I just smiled - and gritted my teeth.
As I said in a recent blog, insects have a choice in inclement weather and will hunker down until things improve. Plants just get on with it, governed largely by day length. Of course some plants demand wet, or at least damp, conditions. Liverworts have no vessels for conducting fluids so they flourish in  the rain. Furthermore, in sexual reproduction, the male organs produce cells which must 'swim' to the female organs (the archegonia) and require a film of liquid in order to do this.
Common Liverwort at the foot of a wall. Daventry town centre.
3 April, 2018
The Common Liverwort, Marchantia polymorpha, was growing happily at the base of a wall - a typical habitat - near to Daventry library. The male reproductive organs are the cup-shaped structures almost in the middle of the photograph; a little to their left are the female receptacles with finger-like lobes.
Not far away the male catkins of Sallow, Salix caprea, were beginning to display their golden stamens. Often called Goat Willow (note the specific name caprea) it is a rather variable species but generally easy to recognise.
Male catkins of Goat Willow, aka Sallow near Daventry town centre.
3 April, 2018
The Sallow is a British native but nearby was a plant definitely exotic in origin. Camellias, named in honour of a Jesuit pharmacist from Brno, Georg Kamel, hail from south-east Asia and include Tea, Camellia sinensis, among its members. The plants most often grown in Britain are forms of Camellia japonica.
Camellia japonica was flowering in a sheltered spot in Daventry.
3 April, 2018

This specimen, again growing near to the town centre, could be any one of several broadly similar cultivars although my guess is that it is R.L.Wheeler.
So despite steady rain there was colour and interest, and I arrived home to find that our Pulsatilla vulgaris had come into flower.
The red form of the Pasque flower was doing its bit to brighten our
front garden. Stefen Hill, Daventry. 3 April, 2018
This reddish form was once regarded by some botanists as a distinct species, Pulsatilla rubra, but it is now considered to be just a variant of 'pulsatilla'. For us it is a little earlier than our purple native form, which may require another couple of weeks to bloom.


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