December 17, 2018

Plant survey – well the beginnings

I love that part of our job that is to look after and encourage the rarer and therefore more interesting plants that are natural to the different soils over the farm. This is particularly so on the thin Cotswold Brash soil on the edge of the escarpments. Each year we do a few things with the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and I was really delighted when Clare offered to survey some of the fields – what follows are her words and pictures – thank you Clare.

“I walked along the slope beneath Abbey woods which was fairly typical improved grassland, but towards the far end of the slope above a patch of blackthorn there’s an area that is really quite rich with limestone indicator species such as Mouse-ear Hawkweed (Pilosella officinarum), Upright Brome (Bromopsis erecta) and Salad Burnett (Poterium sanquisorba) and Cowslip (Primula veris). There were also some spotted orchid leaves (see picture) – currently identified as Orchis mascula (Early purple orchid) but to be sure one might have to check when it’s in flower! It could be Common spotted-orchid (Dactylorrhiza fuchsii).

orchid

It does seem as if that end of the field is benefitting from it’s proximity to Swift’s Hill…

I also made a species list of everything I could see growing close to the banks of the Slad Brook, just downstream of the little stone bridge. There were some interesting finds, notably lots of Moschatel or Townhall Clock (Adoxa moschatellina),

Townhall Clock

that I’ve attached a picture of (sorry its not in better focus)- it’s the only species of it’s family we find in the UK.

Where the livestock have poached the ground near the stream I found Common Bladder-moss (Physcomitrium pyriforme)

Common Bladdder Moss

that likes the damp, disturbed habitat (picture attached).

There were also lots more nice flowering species including Valerian, Marsh Marigold and Brooklime.

I had a great time doing it, very friendly lambs! Loved the video you sent a link to, thanks.”

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