Worcestershire Record No. 23 November 2007 pp. 72-76


Worcestershire Flora Project 
This year’s highlights

Compiled by Bert Reid

2006 was a somewhat less active year for Worcestershire plant recording after general recording for the Flora Project closed in 2004, so there were fewer new county records and new hectad records of native plants than in recent times. Nevertheless, a good number of interesting records are worthy of note.

Alien plants have been a feature of out flora for many years, with plants from all around the world appearing with wool shoddy, as garden escapes and recently from birdseed. In 2006, Harry Green alerted Bert Reid to some unusual plants growing in his garden vegetable plot. These had clearly originated from birdseed and with the regularly recorded Panicum miliaceum, Echinochloa crusgalli and Fagopyron esculentum were a number of less usual species. Ambrosia artemisiifolia was our 9th record, Amaranthus hybridus our 8th Abutilon theophrasti our 6th, Helianthus petiolaris our 4th, Guizotia abyssinica our 2nd, while best of all was a first county record for the Yellow Dodder , Cuscuta campestris. With increasing feeding of wild birds, we may anticipate an increase in such records, but many will bloom unseen in private gardens.

Another plant in Harry’s garden was Datura stramonium. It is not clear where this came from, but in arable fields at Charlton it has long been known as a wool shoddy alien. In 2006 it was abundant, with thousands of plants. Almost all were the normal white flowered form but there was a single plant of the purple form var chalybaea, last recorded in this same site when Christina Dony was collecting wool shoddy aliens in 1953.

Alien plants often appear in quantity for a short time in small sites where disturbance occurs. John Day found such an area at a development site on the north side of Oddingley Road, West Heath, Northfield, where out of 192 species recorded, no less than 15 were new records for the hectad. These included a fine mix of hortal and birdseed plants such as Amaranthus retroflexus, Ambrosia artemisiifolia, Anaphalis margaritacea (6th record), Nicandra physalodes, Nicotinia x sanderae (9th record), Rudbeckia hirta (3rd record), Solanum rostratum (4th record), and a first county record for Sisyrinchium californicum. A couple more new records from here are awaiting confirmation. In the nearby West Heath Recreation Ground, John found our first recent record for Pyrus pyraster ssp achras. This subspecies has pubescent leaves and obconical fruits, but is doubtfully distinct from the widespread subspecies pyraster.
New county records of hortal escapes were Galanthus plicatus ssp byzantinus, Euphorbia characias ssp veneta, Pulsatilla vulgaris, Allium roseum and Geranium nodosum. Galanthus plicatus had been recorded earlier from Broadway Church, but in 2006 Roger Maskew collected here for determination to subspecies. He also collected the same subspecies at Great Comberton church. The Euphorbia is again a subspecific redetermination plus a new record, this time by Bert Reid. Pasqueflower is native quite near to the county in Gloucestershire, but Keith Barnett’s record from Hastings Road, Barnards Green is undoubtably a garden escape. A single plant was growing between paving slabs of a short driveway leading up to a garden gate. It was not from the garden in question, but it is grown in two nearby gardens, including Keith’s! A more acceptable hortal record was also by Keith Barnett, this time a substantial clump of Allium roseum from a hedgerow near Newland. A surprise new post-1987 record was Bert Reid’s Geranium nodosum right on the edge of the county by Cadmore Brook, well away from houses.

But what about native plants? They too have produced a few choice finds in the year. One of the greatest joys in plant recording is re-finding a plant long believed lost from an area. Ann Fells was carrying out a standard survey of a moderately rich cattle pasture near Ashon Wood on Bredon Hill when she saw a small rather dull looking rushy flush. Closer investigation revealed a small patch of Blysmus compressus; Bert Reid managed to find the plant again a month later. This is rare in Worcestershire with only 7 recent tetrad records and 15 altogether – the latest previous record from the Bredon Hill area was 1929. Roger Maskew also visited Bredon Hill, investigating the current status of some of its rarest plants. He found 1000+ plants of Polygala calcarea, many more than had been recorded in recent years. Hippocrepis comosa and Astragalus danicus had not been recorded since 1989 and 1991 respectively, so it was especially pleasing that he found good populations of both.

It is more that 100 years since Callitriche brutia was found at Malvern Common by S H Bickham. The only other records were from Welland Common and Castlemorton Common in the 19th C. During a flora outing to Hollybed Common in 2006, a Water-starwort was collected from marginal mud from by a pool. John Day later determined it as the lost C. brutia, an excellent find. Callitriche is a difficult genus requiring ripe fruits and close examination for determination, and our plant has probably been present all along. The same site visit produced the 8th county site for Festuca filiformis, locally frequent in the grassland; another plant requiring close examination for identification.

Wyre Forest can always be relied upon for interesting plants. Two trips led by John Day produced many of the Wyre specialities including Carex montana, Melica nutans and the recently re-found Pyrola minor. 4 good native plants were added to the Wyre Forest List. Cuttings of the disused railway had 2 sites for Agrostis vinealis while the trackside edge had many plants of Carex divulsa ssp leersii over a 15 m. stretch with a single plant about 60 m. further along. Also along the track was Luzula x borreri (and its L. forsteri parent). The final new plant here was the hybrid fern Polysticum x bicknellii in a gully below Lodge Hill Farm Meadows.

Dianthus deltoides is declining nationally and is now considered near threatened. We had only 2 records since 1987, so it was pleasing that Terry Knight managed to spot a small cushion in a crack in the footpath by Main Street, Broadway. The habitat strongly suggests that this record is probably a garden escape.

Critical genera usually supply several interesting records and 2006 was no exception. Hieracium has given Bill Thompson many headaches following Sell’s revision of the genus. Many specimens have required redetermination and field records have needed revisiting where possible, but by 2006 most of this work was completed. Some of the changes are noted in the detailed records, but a few species are still under final consideration. Next year’s report should see a full list of accepted taxa in the county.

Rosa is particularly well recorded in the county thanks to the detailed work by Roger Maskew. In 2006, a visit to Penny Hill Quarry produced two new rose hybrids for the county, R. micranta x rubiginosa and R. tomentosa x rubiginosa. Roger also added a fifth county record for the nationally rare R. obtusifoia x micrantha on a visit to Hipton Hill.

Dave Earl led a BSBI Rubus meeting in 2006. This was aimed mainly in vc 39 and included modern Worcestershire in Seckley Wood. A number of interesting brambles were found, such as Rubus anglofuscus, R. angloserpens, R. armipotens, R. condensatus and R. ulmifolius x vestitis. R. obscuriflorus was described in 1978 with the holotype selected as a 1954 record from Seckley Wood, so it was particularly pleasing to refind the species in 2006.

Taraxacum provided many new hectad records, including two new county records. Bert Reid found Taraxacum melanthoides on the wide grassy edge of an arable field in Hinton On The Green. This becomes our second dandelion species in the county but not vc 37. It was however a new vice-county record for vc 33. John Day’s record of T. scotiniforme from a disturbed roadside bank on Hockley Brook Lane was a good new record for vc 37. This is only the 23rd British record for the species and had not been recorded since 1991. Other good dandelions included T. acroglossum, T. altissimum, T. haematicum, T. laciniosifrons, T. planum and T. spiculatum.

Some recent records suggest that global warming may be extending the ranges of some traditionally southern plants into Worcestershire. A good example is the Guernsey Fleabane, Conyza sumatrensis. This was first noted in Worcester in 1995: this was our only site until 2002 when a new hectad record was from near Pershore. In 2004, three new hectads were added, with another two in 2005. The spread continued in 2006 with records from SO74, SO84 and SP04. It is fascinating to see the spread of a new alien in such detail.

Another mainly southern plant put in a first appearance in 2006. This was Capsella rubella, a plant apparently originating from the Mediterranean area and most frequent in Britain on the south coast. Paul Stanley and Mark Jannink found it on a grassy road verge on the Pershore to Evesham road at Hampton. It is worth looking out for this plant in future.

Plant of the year was a difficult choice in 2006 with so many candidates of different types and interests. The final decision was for a new county record of a native plant that is spreading from the south, probably reacting to rising temperatures. This is Poa infirma, which was found by Paul Stanley and Mark Jannink at the same place as their record for Capsella rubella. The plant was common in a narrow band around a grassy area, mainly at the interface with the roadside pavement but with a few plants scattered within the grassland. Bert Reid found a second site in Pershore, where two patches were growing on the pavement edge of two adjacent front lawns in a cul-de-sac.

Detailed Records
* First published record for vc37 / Worcestershire
# First post-1987 for hectad concerned
+ Species which is not a native / archeophyte of the British Isles
0 Species which though native / archeophyte in some parts of the British Isles is not so in the locality where recorded

Nomenclature follows the second edition of Clive Stace’s New Flora of the British Isles (1997), and finds were made in 2006 unless otherwise stated. All references to first, second etc. records refer to published records only.

+ Abutilon theophrasti: # 9643, garden in Little Comberton from birdseed (GHG & AWR)
+ Acer saccharinum: # 0075, Cofton Park by Groveley Lane, sapling (JJD)
+ Acer saccharum: # 8863, bank of Westwood Great Pool, many seedlings / saplings naturalised by large mother tree (JJD)
Agrostis vinealis: 7476 & 7676, cuttings on disused railway, Wyre Forest (JJD, AWR & RAW)
+ Allium cepa: # 8540, waste heap at cemetery, Upton upon Severn (KB)
* + Allium roseum: # 7948, hedgerow near Newland, substantial clump (KB conf. RM). First county record
+ Amaranthus hybridus: # 9643, garden in Little Comberton from birdseed (GHG & AWR). 4th record post-1987
+ Amaranthus retroflexus: # 0378, development site in West Heath, Northfield (JJD)
+ Ambrosia artemesiifolia: # 9643, garden in Little Comberton from birdseed (GHG & AWR): # 0378, development site in West Heath, Northfield (JJD)
+ Anaphalis margaritacea: # 0378, development site in West Heath, Northfield (JJD)
Astragalus danicus: 9439, Bredon Hill, about 100 flowering & non-flowering plants in our only site where last recorded in 1991 (RM)
+ Berberis thunbergii: # 8865, Hampton Lovett Industrial Estate (JJD)
Blysmus compressus: # 9839, small flush in cattle pasture near Ashton Wood, Bredon Hill (AF conf. AWR). 1st record for Bredon Hill since 1929
Bromus hordeaceus ssp longipedicellatus: # 9954, Humpy Meadow (JJD)
Callitriche brutia: # 7737, small colony on marginal mud of Hollybed Common pond (JJD, AWR, KB, PLR & AC det. JJD). 1st county record since 1904
* + Capsella rubella: # 0243, several in a grassy area by Pershore to Evesham road at Hampton (PDS & MJ conf. T C G Rich). 1st county record, also seen by AWR
Carex distans: # 9954, Humpy Meadow (JJD)
Carex divulsa ssp leersii: # 7476, very locally frequent on trackside edge of disused railway, Wyre Forest (JJD, AWR, PLR, RAW). 2nd post- 1987 site
Carex muricata ssp lamprocarpa: # 8339, large colony on verge on A4104 near Upton upon Severn (KB) 
Centaurea nigra agg: this taxon has been split by Peter Sell into two species – initial investigations, mainly in the southeast of the county, suggest that most knapweeds here match his Centaurea debeauxii, with both rayed (ssp thuillieri) and unrayed (ssp nemoralis) represented. C. nigra sensu stricto appears rare with only one example of the rayed subspecies rivularis found. The picture may be different in the north and west of the county and some more or less intermediate plants may be the hybrid.
+ Cerinthe major “Purpurescens”: # 9745, one plant seeded from garden on pavement edge in Barnards Green (KB). 2nd record of this recently popular garden escape
+ Chaenomeles speciosa agg: # 0378, spreading on development site at West Heath, Northfield (JJD)
Chrysanthemum segetum: # 9468, track verge on Needle Street Lane, Stoke Prior (JJD)
+ Conyza sumatrensis: # 7845, disused garage forecourt, Barnads Green (KB conf AWR): # 8842, road bank near Dunstall Bridge over M5 (AWR): # 0343, Evesham, 3 sites (AWR). Three more hectads for this fast spreading alien. 
+ Cornus alba: # 8865, Hampton Lovett Industrial Estate, spreading from introduced stock (JJD)
+ Crocus nudiflorus: # 9343, Birlingham Church, 2 good patches naturalised in churchyard (AWR). 1st county record post-1987.
* + Cuscuta campestris: # 9643, 3 small plants in garden in Little Comberton, from birdseed (GHG & AWR). 1st county record.
+ Cyclamen repandum: # 9458, small colony estanlished and spreading in Himbleton Churchyard (JJD). 4th county site.
+ Cytisus striatus: # 6365, Hanging Grove, Lodge Farm, several seedlings from planting by pool (AWR & JH)
+ Datura stramonium var chalybaea: # 0045, arable at Charlton (AWR). This purple flowered form was recorded here previously in 1953 as a wool alien.
Dianthus deltoides: # 1037, footway crack in Main Street, Broadway (TDK). 3rd record post-1987. 
Echium vulgare: # 9466, vacant lot (cleared), Saxon Business Park (JJD)
+ Erysimum x marshallii: # 7831, Gadfield Elm Chapel (KB)
* + Euphorbia characias ssp veneta: # 9135, B4080 near Bredons Hardwick layby (AWR): # 0849, wall of Cleeve Prior Church (AWR). 1st and 2nd records of this subspecies. The Cleeve Prior record was initially misidentified as ssp characias.
Festuca filiformis: # 7737, locally frequent in monad, Hollybed Common (JJD, AWR, KB, PLR, AC det JJD)
Filago vulgaris: # 7671, 200 – 500 plants in Heightington Village Hall car park (JJD & RAW)
Fumaria muralis ssp boraei: # 0378, development site in West Heath, Northfield (JJD)
* + Galanthus plicatus ssp byzantinus: # 9542, Great Comberton Church (RM conf J D Armitage): # 9936, Broadway Church (RM conf M D Myers). 1st records determined to subspecies.
+ Geranium nodosum: # 5769, Green Hayes Pasture by Cadmore Brook (AWR). 1st post-1987 record.
+ Geranium phaeum: # 9369, verge of Grafton Lane (JJD). 3rd record post-1987
+ Geranium versicolor: # 8865, Hampton Lovett Industrial Estate (JJD)
+ Guitzotia abyssinica: # 9643, garden in Little Comberton from birdseed (GHG & AWR). 2nd county record.
+ Helianthus petiolaris: # 9643, garden in Little Comberton from birdseed (GHG & AWR). 4th county record.
+ Hemerocallis fulva: # 8049, large plant on road verge west of Deblin’s Green (KB). 4th county record
Hieracium: Peter Sell has made many taxonomic changes to the hawkweeds, a number of which alter our records. Bill Thompson is carrying out a full revision of our records, which will be completed in 2007 / 8. Among changes already dealt with are the split of H. acuminatum into H. acuminatum s.s., H. argillacium and H. consociatum. H. anglorum is reasonably widespread in the county (39 tetrads), H. eboracense is in 17 tetrads, and H. prominentidens in 8 tetrads. All our records for H. diaphanum are errors for other Vulgata species and all our H. rigens are now considered H. salticola. Our record of H. trichocaulon has been redetermined as H. calcaricola and our H. lepidulum record is now considered to be H. anglorum. H. sabaudum has been split into two forms and H. umbellatum to three. Ongoing work includes the H. exotericum agg and it is hoped to give a full summary of our Hawkweeds next year.
Hippocrepis comosa: 9439, several 100 plants on Bredon Hill where not recorded since 1989 (RM): 1036, locally frequent Broadway Hill last rrecorded 1984 (RM).
0 Hippophae rhamnoides: # 0378, 1 plant on development site at West Heath, Northfield (JJD)
+ Hypericum x inodorum: # 0378, 1 plant on development site at West Heath, Northfield (JJD)
Inula conyza: # 9770, Pikes Pool Lane, 30 plants on embankment (JJD)
+ Iris versicolor: # 7737, 5 clumps by Hollybed Common Pool (JJD, KB, PLR & WE)
Juncus acutiflorus: # 7529, wet meadow west of Harts Farm (JJD)
Juncus bulbosus: # 8082, Arley Wood vc39, wet ruts in ride (AWR & JH)
Luzula x borreri: # 7476, several by disused railway, Wyre Forest (JJD & ML)
Melampyrum pratense ssp commutatum: # 8060, scattered throughout Monk Wood (AWR). Unexpected subspecies for this site but upper leaf measurements on 22 plants clearly indicate this. 3rd tetrad.
+ Myrrhis odorata: # 9736, Beckford vc 33, road verge by disused pit (AWR)
+ Nicandra physalodes: # 0378, 1 plant on development site at West Heath, Northfield (JJD)
+ Nicotiana x sanderae: # 0378, 30 plants on development site at West Heath, Northfield (JJD)
Orchis morio: # 9736, Beckford Gravel Pit vc 33 (CDG)
+ Phalaris aquatica: # 7934, game cover arable headland west of Berrow Court Farm (JJD): # 8959, 1 in kale strip sown with bird-seed, Lower Smite Farm (JJD)
* Poa infirma: # 0243, common in a grassy area by Pershore to Evesham road at Hampton (PDS & MJ conf. JJD). 1st county record, also seen by AWR: # 9445, Pershore, pavement edge of 2 front lawns in cul-de-sac (AWR). 2nd record.
Polygala calcarea: 9439, Bredon Hill: 1000+ plants (RM). A very good year at our only site.
Polystichum x bicknellii: # 7676, gully below Lodge Hill Farm Meadows, Wyre Forest (JJD, BW & ML det JJD)
+ Pratia pedunculata: # 9445, locally dominant weed in garden lawn, Pershore (JWM det AWR)
Prunus x fruticans: # 6873, lane from Bayton to Shakenhurst (JJD): # 7833, parish boundary hedge east of Netherly Lane (JJD)
+ Pseudosasa japonica: # 7254, disused railway Suckley to Knightwick, single clump in woodland (JJD)
* 0 Pulsatilla vulgaris: # 7945, between paving slabs in Barnards Green, garden escape (KB). 1st confirmed county record but scarcely countable.
Pyrus pyraster ssp achras: # 0378, West Heath Recreation Ground (JJD). This is the 1st recent record of this subspecies.
* Rosa x avrayensis (R. tomentosa (female) x rubiginosa: # 7561, Penny Hill Quarry (RM). 1st county record.
* Rosa x bigeneris (R. micrantha (female) x rubiginosa): # 7561, Penny Hill Quarry (RM). 1st county record.
+ Rosa ferruginea: # 8045, small plant in gutter, Sherrards Green (KB)
Rosa obtusifolia (female) x micrantha: # 0247, Hipton Hill (RM). 5th vc37 record
Rubus anglofuscus: #7677, Seckley Wood vc39 (BSBI field meeting det D P Earl)
Rumus angloserpens: 7677, Seckley Wood vc39 (BSBI field meeting det D P Earl). 4th county site.
Rubus codensatus: 7677, Seckley Wood vc39 (BSBI field meeting det D P Earl). 6th county record.
Rubus dasyphyllus: #7677, Seckley Wood vc39 (BSBI field meeting det D P Earl)
Rubus obscuriflorus: 7677, Seckley Wood vc39 (BSBI field meeting det D P Earl). Only known from 3 sites in our area.
Rubus ulmifolius x vestitus: #7677, Seckley Wood vc39 (BSBI field meeting det D P Earl)
+ Rudbeckia hirta: # 0378, development site in West Heath, Northfield (JJD). 3rd county record.
Salix x multinervis: #6973, lane to Norgrovesend Bayton (JJD)
Saxifraga tridactylites: # 9540, Bredon Hill east of tower, vc 33 (RM)
+ Sequoiadendron giganteum: #8863, by Westwood Great Pool (JJD)
* + Sisyrinchium californicum: # 0378, development site in West Heath, Northfield, small clump spreading vegetatively on edge of pavement / waste site (JJD). 1st county record.
Smyrnium olusatrum: #9671, Bromsgrove, casual in amenity shrub bed at corner of Birmingham & Stourbridge roads (MWP)
+ Solanum rostratum: # 0378, 1 in fruit on development site in West Heath, Northfield (JJD). 4th county record
+ Spiraea x rosalba: # 0378, 1 small bush, development site in West Heath, Northfield, probably garden / root relic (JJD). 4th county record
+ Taraxacum acroglossum: # 9865, High Elms Lane Lower Bentley, grass verge (JJD det A J Richards). 2nd county record.
+ Taraxacum altissimum: # 9270, Bungay Lake Lane, (JJD det AWR conf A J Richards). 3rd county record.
Taraxacum ancistrolobum: # 7355, Lords Wood Meadows (AWR & RM)
Taraxacum argutum: # 7356, Ankerdine Hill (AWR & RM)
Taraxacum boekmanii: # 7873, Castlemorton Common (AWR & KB): # 8953, A422 at Spetchley (AWR)
Taraxacum cophocentrum: # 8762, A4133 Holt Heath to Droitwich Bypass (AWR conf A J Richards)
Taraxacum cordatum: # 8762, A4133 Holt Heath to Droitwich Bypass (AWR conf A J Richards)
Taraxacum faeroense: # 9467, Stoke Prior garden flowerbed (JJD det AWR)
Taraxacum gelertii: # 8969, Elmbridge Lane (JJD det AWR)
Taraxacum haematicum: # 0243, Hampton churchyard (AWR det A J Richards). Unusual habitat for this floodplain dandelion, 4th county record.
Taraxacum hamatulum: # 6771, lane Neen Sollars to Mamble (JJD det A J Richards)
Taraxacum hamatum: # 7939, Castlemorton Common (AWR & KB): # 0474, Watery Lane Lea End (JJD det AWR)
Taraxacum hamiferum: # 8849, Stonehall Common (AWR): #8563, lane from Hadley to Hadley Heath (AWR): # 9544, road bank Pensham Hill (AWR)
Taraxacum laciniosifrons: # 8762, A4133 Holt Heath to Droitwich Bypass (AWR det A J Richards). 3rd county record
* Taraxacum melanthoides: SP0264, grassy arable edge Hinton On The Green vc33 (AWR conf A J Richards): 1st record for Greater Worcestershire and vc33. 
Taraxacum oblongatum: # 7739 / 7838, Castlemorton Common (AWR & KB): #8978, A450 Broome Road (JJD det AWR)
+ Taraxacum planum: # 8762, rough ground by Westwood Way (AWR conf A J Richards). 3rd county record
Taraxacum sahlinianum: # 8851, road verge Norton Juxta Kempsey (AWR)
* + Taraxacum scotiniforme: # 9275, Hockley Brook Lane, disturbed roadside bank (JJD det AWR conf A J Richards). 1st county record.
+ Taraxacum spiculatum: # 9969, Alcester Road, Tardebigge (JJD det AWR conf A J Richards). 3rd county record
Taraxacum stenacrum: # 0243, pavement edge Hampton (AWR det A J Richards)
Taraxacum subbracteatum: Willow Bank, Bliss Gate (RAW det AWR)
+ Taraxacum sublongisquameum: # 0354, verge of road to Abbots Morton (AWR conf A J Richards). 2nd county record
Viola x scabra (V. hirta x odorata): # 7463, with both parents, laneside at Woodbury (RM): 4th county site.
Yucca recurvifolia: # 8963, 3 plants in tall herb vegetation by River Salwarpe, likely introduction (JJD).
Recorder initials:

AC Andrew Curran MJ Mark Jannink
AF Ann Fells ML Mark Lawley
AWR Bert Reid MWP Mile Poulton
BW Brett Westwood PDS Paul Stanley
CDG Colin Grove PLR Paul Reade
GHG Harry Green RAW Rosemary Winnall
JH Jackie Hardy RM Roger Maskew
JJD John Day TDK Terry Knight
JWM John Meiklejohn WE William Eustace
KB Keith Barnett    
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