Warrington Plant Group at Rixton Clay Pits SSSI

Warrington Plant Group are getting brave!  Not content with mere square bashing we now apply ourselves to difficult plant groups like sedges and marsh orchids 🙂

marsh orchid

marsh orchid

We met at Rixton Clay Pits SSSI to investigate the reason it was designated of national importance for nature conservation – its marshy grassland flora.  We spent the whole day in the marshy meadow investigating its sedges and discussing the orchids. We got so stuck in that I forgot to take any pictures!  The site supports many sedge species and we identified Carex demissa, C.flacca, C.leporina (= C.ovalis), C.nigra, C.otrubae, C.panicea and C.pseudocyperus as well as Eriophorum angustifolium and Eleocharis palustris.  Not bad eh ?

The orchids were tricky.  We were confident in our ID of common spotted Dactylorhiza fuchsii, but the marsh orchids were very variable in form and colour and eventually we concluded it was likely that they were a hybrid swarm involving southern marsh Dactylorhiza praetermissa and northern marsh D.purpurella.

Other notable plants we saw on site included: creeping willow Salix repens and its hybrid with grey willow; yellow-wort Blackstonia perfoliata; and lesser marshwort Apium inundatum.

Finally, at lunchtime we sat on a grassy knoll with lots of this eyebright:

2016-06-19 13.50.24 (800x450)

This is Euphrasia arctica, which is common in the north and west but under-recorded because eyebrights are difficult to identify.

We did really well with our ID and finished before it started raining properly, well done everyone 🙂

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