Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Castor Hanglands

It was such a lovely day that I had to get out, so I visited Castor Hanglands in preparation for a grass identification day that I'm leading on 24th June. It's an ideal location, as there's arable, neutral grassland, calcareous grassland, wetland and woodland all in a compact area, and I'm confident we'll be able to find a good range of species to identify.

As I walked round I also recorded the wider flora. It's an excellent time for recording sedges. most of which are flowering now. The marsh had lots of Carex disticha, as well as C. panicea and C. distans. All of these are very local, being largely confined to unimproved grassland. Around Peterborough C. disticha also occurs in alluvial meadows, but the latter two species are largely confined to damp calcareous grassland, often with springs or seepages.

Carex panicea

Carex disticha

Carex distans
 The marsh orchids were also coming into bloom. There were some Dactylorhiza incarnata subsp. incarnata, but most appeared to be hybrids. I find these very difficult to identify, particularly where there are more than two possible parents. At least some looked as though they might be D. x kerneriorum (D. fuchsii x D.incarnata), as they had rather pink flower with folded back lips and heavily spotted leaves, but they could be another taxon! Sedges are so much easier!!

Unsure about this one!

Possible Dactylorhiza x kerneriorum

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