Twitcher in the Swamp

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Friday, 8 August 2014 09:12

Peter Marren literally wrote the book on Britain's rare flowers, so it was a great honour to show him three rare plants that he had never seen before, all on Amberley Wildbrooks and all (in hind sight) within a square metre of a single ditch. Peter is on a quest to see all of the native plants in the UK and is only about 50 or 60 species away from achieving this goal. 

Above is Peter with handfuls of the very rare Sharp-leaved Pondweed Potamogeton acutifolius. The first of our three rare plants and the most widespread on site, growing in most ditches which have some open water in them.

The highlight was of course Cut-grass Leersia oryzoides. An assuming grass with a subtle beauty that is widespread around the site and is flowering well, this year. I've never seen it flowering before, my search image is focused on looking for the upper leaf terminating the plant, often pointing straight up like a spear. ALL my photos, yet again, came out badly for this grass which is as hard to photograph as it is to spot. The third and final plant was the hardest to find but the commonest species nationally being Hairlike Pondweed Potamogeton trichoides.

It was great to spend time with such a like minded naturalist, I even managed a tick of my own, a male Crabro cribrarius wasp. I leave you with my photo of Pasque Flower, inspired by the cover of Peter's book, that I took at Therfield Heath many years ago...

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