Monday, 25 June 2018

Killingly hot!

On a swelteringly (OE sweltan: to die) hot day I made another trip to Foxhill Farm but fortunately avoided death.
All the land is now thoroughly dry but I made my way to an area of pasture which would normally be damp to see how plants were coping. Ragged Robin, Lychnis flos-cuculi, is very much a plant of moist meadows and was reaching the end of its season anyway, but a few flowers have survived. The name could be associated with the traditional play of Robin and Marion, played for some reason at Pentecost. The actor representing Robin would always wear ragged clothes, perhaps seeing Robin as a scruffy but warm-hearted rogue. Sometimes a white-flowered form will occur and a Mr Stonehouse told of: Wild William with an elegant whitish flower, by a ditch in the long lane between Daventry and Dovebridge. (Quoted by William How in his Phytologia Britannica of 1650.)  I have so far been unable to trace 'Dovebridge'.

Ragged Robin at Foxhill Farm, Badby. 25 June, 2018
With the Ragged Robin grew the biennial Marsh Thistle, Cirsium palustre. It is a tall, slender plant with distinctive, very spiny stems and typically purple flowers (Star-pointed Thistle with its ruddy flowers, as John Clare put it) but this species too is occasionally found with white flowers.
Marsh Thistle tends to be a tall, slender plant. Foxhill Farm, Badby.
25 June, 2018
Whatever the flower colour they are, like all thistles, very popular with insects and today Meadow Brown butterflies, Maniola jurtina, were busy taking nectar. These were overwhelmingly the commonest butterfly today with just a few Ringlets and Skippers to provide variety. 
Meadow Brown on Marsh Thistle. Foxhill Farm, Badby.
25 June, 2018
In a recent blog I discussed the matter of plant rusts and another example caught my attention today. It was Rose Rust, Phragmidium tuberculatum and was surrounding a leaf axil. Commonly it attacks the ripening hips and is sorely vexing for some gardeners.

Rose Rust on a hedgerow plant at Foxhill Farm, Badby.
25 June, 2018
The total number if invertebrates I have recorded for Foxhill Farm currently stands at 261 but a number of specimens still require identification. I suppose this figure is roughly where I would expect to be at this time of the year.

Tony White:

No comments:

Post a Comment