• DWT Botany Group

A non-spiky thistle

Still thrashing about my patch of Waldridge Fell looking for nice plants and the hard work has paid off again with a new species for the fell in the form of Melancholy Thistle (Cirsium heterophyllum) which is only the 2nd record for the 10km square .

The only other record was in 1947 at Brasside by no other than J.W.H. Harrison so I'm well chuffed. As can be seen on the map below, its fairly common in the uplands in the west but rare elsewhere, but it does occur in a few spots around west Gateshead (you may have seen it if you came on one of our outings to Milkwellburn Wood).

On a south-facing bank was an interesting collection of more common plants such as Tormentil, Heath Bedstraw, Autumnal Hawkbit, Pignut, Lesser Stitchwort nearby) and masses of Yellow Rattle.

Pignut in fruit

Lesser Stitchwort (it's larger cousin, Greater Stitchwort was still in flower nearby)


Yellow Oat-grass - many botanists favourite grass

Lurking amongst the Tormentil was a very similar plant but it had 5 petals. It may just be a 5-petaled Tormentil but with it's flowers being larger and the leaves slightly broader and with slightly toothed stipules it may be Potentilla anglica or one of the very difficult hybrids. Too early in the season to see if it is sterile so will have to check later on.

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