Saturday, 12 June 2010

Gutteridge's Wood and Meadows

This time I joined a botanical walk through local woods on beech and meadows full of flowers near Goring Heath. It was a cooler day than of late with sunny spells. The beech trees are now in full leaf. For a report on what the group found please look here.

beech trees

The knowledgeable guide pointed out a number of interesting plants. Including this butchers broom (Ruscus aculeatus) one of the more unusual members of the monocotyledon (lily) group of plants.

butchers broom

In some of the clearings among the trees were some patches of yellow pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum).

yellow pimpernell

One of the stars was a Wild Service Tree (Sorbus torminalis) with a healthy broad girth, so may be of some age.

wild service tree

Not far away were some old flower spikes of Bird's Nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis), but a little further on, one solitary spike of this year's flowers was found. It has no green leaves and lives on dead and decaying vegetation from its symbiotic partner - a fungus.

birds next orchid

There were fine specimens of the rarer cousin to the male fern, the scaly male fern (Dryopteris affinis) with brown scales on the rachis.

scaly male fern

On some ferns the fronds had been wrapped up in a neat package to protect an insect inside.

distorted fern

To make a brief break from the flora, this bee was very reluctant to move from its resting place on a plant leaf.

bee

Up close the fruits of the common stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) show a spiralling form.

nettle flower

Another rarity was then seen, Cow wheat (Melampyrum pratense) which is partially parasitic on tree roots.

cow wheat

We then moved to a field which had been specially managed to promote wild flowers. It was a mass of flowers of a wide range of different species of which poppies were the most evident.

wild flower meadow,poppy

These included Sun Spurge (Euphorbia helioscopia)

sun spurge

Attractive field pansies (Viola arvensis).

field pansy

A remnant of cultivation as a crop plant in the field was this Cultured Vetch (Vicia sativa) - also known as Tare - it was used a fodder plant.

cultured vetch

Many more plants were seen, but let's end with the seed capsules of Field Pennycress (Thlaspi arvense)

field penny cress

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