Friday, 30 May 2014

King's Dyke NR

While Pete led the annual bug-hunt, I concentrated on recording the plants and although I only covered a small part of the reserve I found plenty of interest. The summer-parched soils of the reserve support a good range of tiny annuals, including very large populations of Filago vulgaris, Valerianella locusta and Myosotis discolor. Other more local species of similar conditions include Torilis nodosa and Ranunculus parviflorus, which I've not seen there previously.

Torilis nodosa

Valerianella locusta

Myosotis discolor

Ranunculus parviflorus

A couple of species of orchid were also flowering, Dactylorhiza incarnata and Ophrys apifera, both growing near the edge of the lake, the latter just beyond the pond dipping platform.

Dactylorhiza incarnata

Ophrys apifera

However, the most unusual species was found growing abundantly in the lawn behind the Hanson offices, which is actually remarkably species-rich. At first I just couldn't place the blue starry flowers, but eventually I remembered that it looked like a Pratia sp., which I grew many years ago. After consulting various reference books it turned out to be Matted Lobelia Pratia pedunculata, a native of New Zealand which may well be a new record for VC29.

Lawn lobelia Pratia angulata, naturalised in mown grassland

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