Saturday, 5 August 2017

Holy Cross Churchyard Plant Survey - End of June

On the 24th of June, I recorded the plants in Uckfield's Holy Cross Churchyard for the Sussex Botanical Recording Society's Churchyard survey. As the weather was miserable on the day I did the survey I returned on the 1st of July to check some IDs and take some photos. This is my third visit, the first two being at the beginning and end of April

I've already recorded over 80 species and it was good to see some properly out in flower, like the Bird's Foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) shown below.

Bird's Foot Trefoil.
I heard a buzzing and took a closer look at the bee pollinating the flowers.

Common Carder Bee on Bird's Foot Trefoil.
I was intrigued by the writing on the gravestone. The weather-worn letters were difficult to read but I could make out ...
.... Uckfield ...
Blessed are the pure in heart
... shall see god.

Thomas Brooke may have been a tailor on Uckfield High Street or one of his family.

Nearby a White-Tailed Bumblebee was foraging in the hedge alongside the churchyard.

White-tailed Bumblebee on bramble flowers.
Some of the plants I recorded are those little weeds that are so familiar that we hardly even see them. Identifying them obliged me to take a proper look at them.

Distinguishing between Willowherbs by comparing the share of the stigma (central female part).
The Collins Wild Flower Guide has keys that help me pick my way through different types of similar flower. The two Willowherbs I found were:
  • on the left, with an undivided stigma, is Square Stalked Willowherb (Epilobium Tetragonum)
  • on the right, stigma has four lobes, is Hoary willowherb (Epilobium Parviflorum).
The big, showy Evening Primrose flowers are a complete contrast to the dainty little willowherbs. Surprisingly, there are members of the same family.

Large Evening Primrose.
I thought that an evening primrose would be straightforward to identify but, again, there are several different species.

Red speckles on Evening Primrose stem.
The red speckles on the stem and other details helped me identify the plant as Large Evening Primrose (Oenothera glazioviana).

Yellow seems to be the colour of June. Another yellow flower that I added to the list was Smooth Hawkweed (Crepis capillaris)

Smooth Hawkweed.

Another plant we take for granted is grasses. I found a few more to add to my list including some that had escaped the mower because they are inside the metal railings around plots.

False Oat grass (Arrhenatherum elatius)
I'm sure that the Goldfinches and House Sparrows that I have seen in the churchyard will appreciate the seeds.

I finally managed to identify the large fern by the door as a Male Fern (Dryopteris filix-mas). I find ferns very difficult to identify. This time, my trusty plant guide directed me to inspect the spores and the edges of the leaves.

Male Fern - underside of leaf showing spores.
One of my favourites this time was Yellow Fumitory (Corydalis lutea).

Yellow Fumitory growing on the church walls.
After this it was time to leave the memorials, birds and flowers behind and visit the Farmer Market.

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