Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Wildflowers and plants around the village

Carol Wilson has noted all the plants found more or less within the village; there will be a more extensive list of wildflowers noticed throughout the dale later

Wildflowers within the village of Westerdale 2009

Annual meadow gr. Poa annua
Ash Fraxinus excelsior
Bird’s foot trefoil, gr Lotis pedunculatus
Bittercress, large Cardamine amara
Bluebell Hyocynthoides non-scripta
Bracken Pteridium aquilinum
Bramble Rubus fruiticosus
Broom Cytisus scoparius
Burdock, lesser Arctium minus
Buttercup, creeping Ranunculus repens
Buttercup, meadow R. acris
Campion, red Silene dioica
Celandine, lesser Ranunculus ficaria
Chickweed Stellaria media
Cleavers Galium aparine
Clover, white Trifolium repens
Cocksfoot Dactylis glomerata
Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara
Comfrey, Russian Symphytum uplandicum
Cow parsley Anthriscus sylvestris
Crosswort Galium cruciata
Daisy Bellis perennis
Dame’s violet Hesperis matronalis
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale
Deadnettle, white Lamium album
Dock, broad-lvd. Rumex obtusifolius
Elder Sambucus nigra
Forget-me-not, field Myosotis arvensis
Foxglove Digitalis purpurea
Ground ivy Glechoma hederacea
Groundsel Senecio vulgaris
Harebell Campanula rotundifolia
Hawkweed, mousear Pilosella officinarum
Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna
Herb benet Geum urbanum
Herb Robert Geranium robertianum
Hogweed Heracleum sphondylium
Honesty Lunaria annua
Horse chestnut Aesculus hippocastanum
Ivy Hedera helix
Lady’s smock Cardamine pratensis
Lilac Syringa vulgaris
Lords and ladies Arum maculatum
Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria
Mousear Cerastium holosteoides
Mousear hawkweed Pilosella officinarum
Nettle Urtica dioica
Pignut Conopodium majus
Pineappleweed Matricaria matricrioides
Plantain, ribwort Plantago lanceolata
Poppy, Welsh Mecanopsis cambrica
Selfheal Prunella vulgaris
Silverweed Potentilla anserina
Sorrel, common Rumex acetosa
Sow thistle, prickly Sonchus asper
Sow thistle, smooth S. oleraceous
Speedwell, Germander Veronica chamaedrys
Speedwell, thyme-lvd. V. serpyllifolia
Stitchwort, greater Stellaria holostea
Stonecrop, English Sedum anglicum
Sweet cicely Myrrhis odorata
Sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus
Thistle, creeping Cirsium arvense
Vetch, bush Vicia sepium
Willowherb, rosebay Chamaenerion angustifolium
Winter heliotrope Petasites fragrans
Yorkshire fog Holcus lanatus

A special note about a plant spotted on the moors:

Wildflowers around Westerdale

Take the lane out of the village past Westerdale Hall and Hall Farm and on up to the edge of the moor. Go through the metal gate and turn right. If you look carefully among the heather along this track you will find the small but very bright yellow flowers of common cow wheat Melampyrum pratense.

This plant is called common cow wheat to differentiate it from small cow wheat, which is extremely rare, but in fact itself is not that common at all these days. But it is an interesting plant.

Cow wheat is hemi-parasitic, that is it partly lives off other plants. Not a great deal is known about how this plant achieves this or the full range of plants it will use for hosts but it tends to prefer woody species and in Westerdale’s case would seem to parasitise off the heather. As well as the host species it uses an ectomycorrhizal fungus in order to survive.

Cow wheat is the food plant of the lead coloured pug moth and a particular aphid but is best known as the food plant of the heath fritillary Mellicta athalia. We are too far north for this butterfly to survive here. It can be found in some parts of southern England. Unfortunately the loss of cow wheat is causing concern for the butterfly. Here we seem to have a successful area of this plant. Do look out for it and let me know if you find it in other areas.

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