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Botany Report for 2009

by Gill Smith


2009 started cold and snowy, and spring was late with the main “greening“ not happening till the very end of April. The bluebells were at their best in the first week of May, perfect for the Ryenats’ Riccaldale outing.

I personally had a very exciting year botanically, seeing 7 species for the first time: lesser twayblade, basil thyme, yellow birdsnest, burnt-tip orchid, field garlic, Dutch rush, and the alien/introduced New Zealand buttonweed Cotula alpina; and some unusual ones: dodder, mountain everlasting, deadly nightshade in flower, yellow birdsnest, bee orchid, fragrant orchid (var. densiflora and marsh helleborine, as well as pure white forms of bell heather near Ana Cross above Lastingham and ragged robin in Seivedale Fen. I also confirmed an old record of lily-of-the-valley near Gilling, discovering quite a sizeable patch with several flower spikes.

I went on several plant-hunting walks, and some of the highlights are:
Gagea doing well in both Kirkdale and near Appleton-le-Moors.
Herb paris, twayblade, lily of the valley, early purple orchids, wood anemones in Beadale on 2nd May.
Seeing the locally rare and very elusive lesser twayblade at Darnholm on 17 May.
At Ashberry on 24th May: lily-of-the-valley, baneberry, columbine, herb paris, globeflower, birdseye primrose, early marsh orchid, meadow saxifrage (not doing particularly well).
Small toadflax Gilling old railway 13 June.
Butterfly orchids, deadly nightshade, burnt-tip orchid, fly orchids in limestone grassland and woods, Hutton Common and Yatts 14 Jun.
Yellow birdsnest, bee orchids, mountain everlasting and marsh orchids in old limestone quarry, damp grassland and fen, Sutherbruff and Sandale 21 June.
One clustered bellflower, 6+ knapweed broomrape Broughton 16 July. Bill reports broomrape at Swinton on 31st
Dodder, basil thyme and various insects in dry limestone grassland and scree / old quarry, Gundale 19 July.
Field garlic Swinton 20th July.
Fragrant orchid Gymnodenia conopsea subsp. densiflora and marsh helleborine Epipactis palustris in damp grassland and fen, Seivedale Fen 25 July.
Dark mullein Hartoft 25 July. Wood vetch Peat Rigg 26 July.
Cotula alpina and New Zealand Willowherb close together on Rudland Rigg 22 Aug.

Bill Thompson’s Records

Many thanks to Bill for sending me his 2009 records, from which I have picked out these highlights, many of which are escapees, including green hellebore at Nunnington and its close relative stinking hellebore at Wydale Hall; hollyhock, purple Primula “Wanda” and Chinodoxa from Kirkby; Jacobís ladder from Hovingham Carrs; Amsinckia near Amotherby; hairy bindweed at Slingsby. Also the following natives:
Beech fern, Four clumps in Brandsby Dale wood
Black nightshade – one plant in cleared woodland
Marsh arrowgrass – few plants in hillside flush (between Yearsley & Brandsby)
Heath groundsel – one plant in felled area of Hovingham High Wood
Wood vetch – Hovingham Bank Wood
Wood club-rush – Hovingham Mill Wood
Spindle – Bromley Bank Wood
Greater chickweed – Wath Beck
Gromwell – Wath and Kitscrew Wood
Lily-of-the-Valley – Wath Wood, big patch
Purging buckthorn – large old bush on woodland edge (NW edge of Wath Wood)
Hawkweed oxtongue – Hovingham Quarry
Wood club-rush – Hovingham Carrs 50m S of Holbeck
Cut-leaved deadnettle – bridleway S of Amotherby
Wall fumitory – S of Amotherby
Flattened meadow-grass – on top of stone wall at Slingsby

Orchid highlights

2009 was a good year for orchids: here is a selection, including the rare lesser twayblade.

Lesser Twayblade, Darnholm 17 May (left) and Fly Orchid, Yatts 14 June (right)

The fly orchid and burnt-tip orchid were both growing in the “orchid field” at Yatts, north of Pickering, the bee orchid is from an old quarry in Pickering Forest.

Burnt-tip Orchid. Yatts 14 June (left) and Bee Orchid, Sutherbruff 21 June (right)

© Text Gill Smith & Ryedale Natural History Society 2010
Photos © Gill and Adrian Smith 2009
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