Friday, 22 May 2015
Oxford ragwort, a non-native species, is thought to be a hybrid between two ragwort species, that occur in Sicily. This plant was brought from Mount Etna to Oxford Botanic Gardens, in England, in the 1700s, and from there it escaped into the surrounding countryside. With the expansion of the railway network in the mid 19th Century, Oxford ragwort, an attractive but rather invasive plant, soon spread along railway lines and can now be found throughout the UK. The clinker of the tracks provided a similar habitat to that found on the slopes of Mount Etna and trains helped to carry its parachuted seeds.
Thursday, 14 May 2015
Saturday, 9 May 2015
Sunday, 26 April 2015
Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa)
It is a plant that grows in damp places, like the banks of a burn. There are two species - Chrysosplenium oppositifolium has opposite pairs of leaves on the main stem, whilst Chrysosplenium alternifolia has its leaves arranged alternately and is much less common.
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
Knotted or egg wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum) on the beach at Lundin Links. This is said to be a widespread seaweed but I hadn't spotted it before. The egg-shaped air bladders were about the size of small grapes.
Growing on the egg wrack was the fluffy dark red seaweed, egg wrack wool (Polysiphonia lanosa). It was said to be an obligatory epiphyte - a plant that benefits from growing on another plant for physical support. It makes use of the hosts buoyancy at high tide lifting it closer to the sunlight.
However, the nature of Polysiphponia's relationship with Ascophyllum is still subject to debate. Recent researchers have suggested that Polysiphonia is parasitic as it gains sugars from its host via hyphae sunk into egg wracks tissue. Others suggest Polysiphonia would not still have red photosynthetic pigment if it was a true parasite and hence suggest the relationship is epiphytic.
Sunday, 19 April 2015
Scurvy grass flower with four sepals and four white petals forming a cross.
There are two other species of scurvy grass - Danish or early scurvy-grass (Cochlearia danica) and English scurvy-grass (Cochlearia anglica). The three plants hybridise readily so it is difficult to be absolutely sure of identification.
Thursday, 16 April 2015
At this time of year male pheasants are at their most colourful.