Warrington Plant Group at Spud Wood, Lymm

I didn’t think we would beat the previous day’s total from our meeting at Rhyl (see last week’s post) but we did!  152 species for the day.  It was a record breaking meeting in other ways with an amazing 12 people turning up to meet me and go out botanising, including friends from not just Warrington Plant Group but the Flintshire BSBI group as well, not forgetting the BSBI Cheshire vice-county recorder.  Thank you to those who attended for all your contributions 🙂

Fumaria muralis ssp boraei photographed by Phil James, det Martyn Stead

We met at Spud Wood, Lymm, a small Woodland Trust site supporting recent plantation woodland of native tree and shrub species.  Prior to planting, the site was nutrient-rich, and this showed in the flora with the understorey mostly consisting of ruderal species such as nettle, docks and coarse grasses.  We moved on to mature secondary woodland behind the plantation which showed signs of previous quarrying and industrial use.  The bluebells were in full effect:

Native bluebells by Natalie Woollacott

Having picked up quite a few woodland species here and admired the bluebells, we moved on to explore the canal towpath.  Graeme found Midland thorn Crataegus laevigata in a hedge alongside the canal and shortly after that Martyn identified water dock Rumex hydrolapathum in the canal itself.  We also identified reed sweet-grass Glyceria maxima from some fragments floating along in the wake of a boat, although whether I’m allowed to count that as a record I’m not sure!

Along nearby country lanes we found a profusion of dandelions, which we did not attempt to identify to species (!), and plenty of hedgerow plants including garlic mustard Alliaria petiolata and greater stitchwort Stellaria holostea:

Stitchwort by Gail Quartly-Bishop

We also noticed Japanese knotweed sprouting near a fishing pond and a single plant of giant hogweed lurking on a roadside verge.  Proof that invasive species aren’t just an urban problem.

Props to whoever booked the weather for the weekend, it may not have been warm but it was dry and sunny all day!

If you would like to join us on botanical field trips in Cheshire and the surrounding areas, see our meetings programme and also visit the BSBI website for more meetings in Cheshire and Lancashire.

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