WFS Meeting in Upper Teesdale 2005

Geranium sylvaticum(Wood Crane's-bill)

Carex viridula ssp brachyrryncha(Long-stalked Yellow-sedge)

Luzula multiflora ssp multiflora (Long-stalked Yellow-sedge)

Alchemilla monticola (Lady's-mantle)

Hieracium cravoniense (Hawkweed)

Geum x intermedia(Hybrid Geum)

Poa humilis (Speading Meadow-grass)

Alchemilla acultiloba(Lady's-mantle)

Morning June 21st: Bowlees Quarry

Meeting in the Bowlees car park just outside Middleton-in-Teesdale, the first stop was the quarry only a few metres away. Our leader Vincent Jones pointed us to Blysmus compressus (Flat Sedge), Carex viridula ssp brachyrhyncha (Long-bracted Yellow-sedge), both sub-species of Luzula multiflora (Heath Wood-rush) and the commonest of the Marsh Orchid hybrids in Teesdale: that between Dactylorhiza purpurella (Northern marsh-orchid) and Dactylorhiza fuschii (Common Spotted-orchid) the correct name for which is Dactylorhiza x venusta. Both parents were present in good numbers.

Of the plants less likely to be spotted or identified by the ordinary botanist, Mr Jones pointed out the main characteristics of three Hawkweeds growing in the quarry: Hieracium cravoniense with its long white hairs, Hieracium pellucidum which has black glands and Hieracium vulgata sect. vulgatum. Mr Jones also revealed that there appears to be a general rule that the flowering month depends on the number of stem leaves among Hawkweeds. The leafier the stem, the later in the year the plant will flower.

Other plants of interest were the beautiful, and in this area, ubiquitous, Geranium sylvaticum (Wood Crane's-bill), Poa humilis (Spreading Meadow-grass) with its compact flowering head and stolons - a species generally under recorded, Mr Jones pointed out. He asserted that we would all surely agree that it could not confused with Poa annua (Annual Meadow-grass) but I have to admit that I would have been one of those wrongly identifying this grass had we been without our leader's expertise.

Both in the quarry and in the car park itself were fine examples of the hybrid between Geum rivale (Water Avens) and Geum urbanum (Herb Bennet or Wood Avens) called Geum x intermedium. Again both parents were to be seen in the vicinity. In the quarry itself and lining the path to it were many fine looking Listera ovata (Twayblade) plants probably the commonest orchid species we saw there. Mr Jones also expanded on the characteristics of Euphrasia nemorosa (Eyebright) and promised to show us other species and hybrids during the two days.

The plants to be seen in the quarry were excellent but in spite of the optimistic weather forecast our day had started with light drizzle and several billion midges, all seemingly immune to chemical deterrents, were out in force.

Morning June 21st: Langdon Beck

Here we were introduced to another difficult group of apomictic plants: the Alchemilla group (Lady's mantles). The three commonest were described to us: Alchemilla xanthochlora, Alchemilla filicaulis ssp vestita and Alchemilla glabra after which we were shown two of the rarer species Alchemilla acutiloba and Alchemilla monticola. The sharp triangular outline of A. acutiloba with its largest teeth halfway along the side of the triangle contrasted with the more rounded, evenly toothed and glaucous leaves of A. monticola.