Phase 1 habitat survey, near Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire (2014)

Just your basic Phase 1 habitat survey of a couple of fields, nice-ish hedgerows, a few nice-looking mature trees – until I found it….

The mystery twig.

the mystery twig

At first I thought it was a Sorbus (rowan or relative of).  Then I noticed the massive spines, so I thought, that can’t be right.  I turned to my books. Not in my trusty Collins Tree Guide.  Not in the Vegetative Key.  Not in field Stace.  Gulp!

I got out the big guns, Stace 3rd edition, possibly the heaviest book on the British flora and definitely not a field guide….. the key asked me about fruits 😦  Not a single one to be seen anywhere in the hedge.

This is where the power of social media comes in.  I posted this pic on Twitter and on a couple of Facebook groups and within hours there was consensus that this was some sort of non-native Crataegus (hawthorn and relatives), maybe one of the North American ones.

It’s really nice to be surprised by something on site after all this time of doing Phase 1 habitat surveys (16 years and counting).  It’s also really nice to have help from my friends 🙂

Here are some pix from the rest of my outing.  I don’t know what the project is but I don’t think there will be many objections to building on an arable field, as long as they retain as much of the hedgerow and as many of the trees as they can.

TN2 (800x450)TN4 (450x800)TN13 (800x450)



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