Back to the Newsletter Contents and Home page

Botany Report 2004 (Reports for 2003)

by Gill Smith

Wild Daffodils near Lowna, Lower Farndale

In some ways this was a relatively quiet year botanically, although I did find a new site for Herb Paris in Gilling (ironically enough when I was actually looking for baneberry, which grew within about 20 yards) and added four new plants to my personal list. The weather conditions must have been ideal for wild daffodils, as they were the best I have ever seen them in lower Farndale on 9th April. As well as producing a spectacular show it was noticeable that all the blooms were facing in the same direction, which led me to wonder whether they were following the sun round. Another local highlight was finding a big patch of lily of the valley with a good number of flower-spikes and also a specimen of baneberry on the roadside verge at Ashberry a month later.

My most exciting botanical day was spent in the Hole of Horcum on a trip led by Nan Sykes to hunt for the green-winged orchid (Orchis morio). In addition to re-discovering this uncommon and very beautiful orchid – in many colour variants from white to deep purple – on a site where it had not been seen for over 20 years, we saw adderstongue (Ophioglossum vulgatum), milkworts in blue, pink and white, northern or pale forget-me-not (Myosotis stolonifera) down by the beck, and on the steep north-facing slopes below the car park dwarf cornel (Cornus suecica) which unfortunately seems to be becoming overgrown by heather and particularly bracken. [This trip is written up elsewhere on the website.]

In early August I went to look for knapweed broomrape (Orobanche elatior) with Sue Bragg of the Howardian Hills AONB, and found it on three sites in the Amotherby-Broughton area, including verges on Broughton Lane which also have wild toadflax (Linaria vulgaris) and hoary cinquefoil (Potentilla argentea) which was another new plant for me.

I have also received reports that shepherds needle (Scandix pecten-veneris) was re-found on an arable field near Lythe, Sandsend, which means it could still be growing in our area and worth searching for. Likewise prickly poppy (Papaver argemone) which turned up on a farm near Hackness. Nan Sykes writes “Of great local interest was the discovery of an extensive spread of hairy buttercup Ranunculus sardous and a single plant of smooth tare (Vicia tetrasperma) [from Terrington], both unknown elsewhere in our area.” I wonder whether our members have farmer friends who would be willing for botanists to visit next year and see if these or other uncommon plants might still grow in Ryedale? Nan also found “...7 much gone-over spikes of small white orchid” near Biller Howe.

Back to the Newsletter Contents and Home page

Text copyright ©Ryedale Natural History Society 2004. Photo copyright ©Adrian Smith 2004