Friday, 15 June 2018

An evening stroll

After our few days on the Lleyn Peninsula it was back to normality with a visit to Matt Moser's land. The only difference was that I made it an evening visit. Chris dropped me off at a convenient point and I walked the last four hundred yards to my destination.
I was delighted to note, at the roadside, a couple of specimens of Burnet Rose, Rosa pimpinellifolia. Although it reasonably common in many parts of Britain this is certainly not the case in Northamptonshire. George Druce (Ref 1) described it as 'very rare', and Gent and Wilson (Ref 2) used the same words.
Burnet Rose beside the Daventry-Newnham Road. 14 June, 2018
Interestingly Druce, using its alternative name of Rosa spinosissima, stated that it occurred at the foot of the Burrow (sic) Hill in Daventry...and... Burnt Walls, Daventry.
With its white flowers and neat foliage it occasionally finds a place in gardens.
Nothing as remarkable was found when I reached Foxhill Farm although a handful of orchids was growing in the first meadow (Field 5411).
A few flowers of Common Spotted Orchid grew in a hay meadow.
Foxhill Farm, 14 June, 2018
They were Common Spotted Orchids, Dactylorhiza fuchsii, our commonest species. Checking Druce again I find that he described it (under Orchis fuchsii) as 'rather common and widely distributed'. John Clare was inevitably familiar with it:

                                      Gaping Cuckoo flowers with spotted leaves
                                      Seems blushing of the singing it has heard.

                                                                      Clare's Rural Muse.

At field margins the Hedge Woundwort is now blooming. With its bizarrely marked flowers it could perhaps find a place in the garden but for the foul smell of its leaves when brushed against.
The foul-smelling Hedge Woundwort is now in flower.
Foxhill Farm, Badby. 14 June, 2018

A few yards away (sorry, I'm not consistently metric) grew Germander Speedwell, Veronica chamaedrys. It bore the hairy galls of Jaapiella veronica, a cecidomyid fly. This is a very widespread insect and lucky is the colony of speedwell that escapes its attention.

Jaapiella veronicae induces the development of galls, usually on
Germander Speedwell. Foxhill Farm, 14 June, 2018
Hawthorn leaves can be affected by a number of galls. Dysaphis crataegi is an aphid causing red bulges, often quite large, and is very common. This aphid belongs to a very complex group and my identification is rather tentative.

The aphid Dysaphis crataegi causes upward-bulging, reddish galls.
Foxhill Farm, 14 June, 2018
Annoyingly a lovely example of the Wasp Beetle, Clytus arietis, was on a hop leaf but, before I could bring my camera into action it dropped to the ground and was lost. But this didn't spoil what was a rather interesting hour of recording.


1. Druce, George Claridge (1930) The Flora of Northamptonshire

2. Gent, G and Wilson, R (2012) The Flora of Northamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough

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