• DWT Botany Group

Brownfield blues

Unlike many of you I seem to do much of my botany, not on desolate moors or in ancient woodland but in more exotic places.

One place I keep checking is a brownfield site fairly close to me near the Hett Hills Recycling Centre aka the Tip. The reason being there is an old record for Heath Cudweed (Gnaphalium sylvaticum). It probably didn't look like it does now so very little chance of finding it but it does has a fine collection of butterflies (18 species in the last 2 years, including Dingy Skipper) and yesterday gave me my first Meadow Browns of the year.

Lots of Narrow-bordered five-spot Burnet moths were out too.

Narrow-bordered five-spot Burnet

Regarding the Gnaphalium, on checking the records, it was found in 1977 and the same day the finders reported finding Hop (Humulus lupulus) and that is still present today, so you never know.

There is also a large patch of Hairy Sedge (Carex hirta) growing on the edge of what was a entrance track in an almost identical habitat to a large patch behind Shibdon Pond. I find most of both it, and Remote Sedge (C. remota) on the edges of paths and tracks but maybe it's because I'm too lazy to venture off them!

Hairy Sedge (Carex hirta)

There is also a small patch of Hard Rush (Juncus inflexus) showing what a hard lad it is, growing through the concrete.

The interupted pith of Hard Rush (Juncus inflexus)

On the way home I checked a small campanula which I found last year on an old stone wall. It didn't flower last year nor this until now. It is Adria Bellflower (Campanula portenschlagiana) often mistaken for the commoner? Trailing Bellflower (Campanula poscharskyana). Adria has a more funnel shaped flower instead of a star-shape as the lobes on the flower only go just more than a quarter of the length as opposed to half or usually more on Trailing. The flower colour is more violet-blue than slaty-blue too. However many cameras have the saturation level rather high which is why purple is a hard colour to capture on camera.

Adria Bellflower (Campanula portenschlagiana)

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