Signs of autumn

Autumn hawkbit (above) and camomile on the golf course. At the base of the hedgerows, there are tangles of redshank, knotgrass and water-pepper. There is lots of wild marjoram opposite the top of Green Lane, by the golf course sign, and enchanter’s nightshade at the bottom of Leigh Lane.       The last of the wild…

To the station and back

A poppy near the church in Bittaford, and some more poppy buds and capsules further on. All along the verge there are patches of zigzag clover, which is less common than white and red clovers but is plentiful here. Note the tapering, pointed stipules and widely spaced brightly coloured petals. Another interesting flower is agrimony, its tall…

Sunny garden

Among the yellow rattle is a single bulbous buttercup. Even though it is common according to my book, I haven’t knowingly noticed one before. Its defining feature is downward pointing sepals but the leaves also look different from those of creeping buttercup, which tend to be mottled and not softly downy like these. At soil level, the stem…

Peas, hawksbeard and mutant plantains

Many relatives of the pea are flowering now. At Ivybridge station there are two sorts of medick, spotted medick, black medick, and lesser trefoil. Black medick, with dense pompoms of flowers and a tiny point – mucro – on the tip of each leaf: Lesser trefoil, with looser flower heads: Vetches and clover are part of the…

Saints’ days

Lots of bluebells at Andrew’s Wood nature reserve on St George’s day, some brimstone butterflies, and a bloody nosed beetle slowly walking across the path. Daldinia concentrica helps decompose ash trees. This fungus is called King Alfred’s cakes after the king who was left minding the cakes baking in a cottage where he was hiding…

Flowers, fruits and flies

Lots of pink on the last day of July: rosebay willowherb and great willowherb,  brambles, buddleia,   knapweed, anad persicaria. Hogweed provides food and shelter for numerous insects, including this bee-mimicking drone fly and a relative of the house fly called graphomyia. These caterpillars emerging from their silky nest are larvae of the parsnip moth. Their usual host…

Biodiversity

I counted over 90 different species currently flowering between Moorhaven and Green Lane, starting with the weeds in our garden (1-36), progressing to Moorhaven communal gardens where Perforate St John’s Wort (37) and Dark Mullein (38) were growing in a weedy border (they could have been planted there originally), and then via Wrangaton Road to the…

Weeds

In the garden, a tiny specimen of common ramping fumitory, some lady’s smock and yellow rattle that we planted to kick-start a wild flower patch by parasitising the lawn. There are five species of speedwell: germander, wall, thyme-leaved, ivy-leaved, and slender speedwell. Other flowers thrive through lack of weeding rather than by design. Common cow-wheat in woods in South Brent

mid-May sunshine

Greater celandine has appeared this month, a relative of the Welsh poppy and not of lesser celandine. It is named after the Greek ‘chelidon’ or swallow, as it flowers when the swallows arrive. The bright orange sap is said to cure warts and for this reason, greater celandine was often planted around the walls and gateways of houses, where indeed it is still…