Wessex Meeting June 11 2016

Saturday 11th June 2016

We met at Appleslade Carpark with the intention of searching for Botrychium lunaria (Moonwort). There were only a few members due to a clash with another BPS event. This site was first ‘discovered’ by Mike Rowe in 2015 and there are only a limited number of sites known in the New Forest. The bracken had grown up so it wasn’t straightforward to spot them, but we soon spotted one, then another, then little clusters of them. In total, 39 specimens were found. Andrew found the largest one and Ashley found the most plants. Jane, as a novice fern spotter, was delighted to have recognised and spotted several herself. There was a marked increase on last year when 25 were found on this site.
Robin had obtained consent to take material for DNA testing part of a Europe wide project, so he was pleased. A few Ophioglossum vulgatum (adder’s-tongue) were also found by Karen.

A very pleasant lunch was had by some at the Red Shoot Inn, while the traditionalists had a picnic in the wood nearby.

In the afternoon, after some interesting deviations to the route, we reassembled at Linwood car park. On our rambles, we visited a muddy pool containing Pilularia globulifera (pillwort). We also found, in a New Forest pasture Polypodium interjectum (intermediate polypody) on mature oaks, Athyrium filix-femina (Lady Fern), Blechnum spicant (Hard Fern) on damp banks, Oreopteris limbosperma (Lemon-scented Fern) on disturbed ground.

A bit further down on a managed forest plantation we spotted a variety of ferns including a few Dryopteris filix-mas (Male Fern), Dryopteris affinis (Scaly Male Fern), many and varied Dryopteris borreri (Borrer’s Scaly Male Fern), Dryopteris carthusiana (Narrow Buckler Fern) a very large colony with Dryopteris dilatata (Broad Buckler Fern) but there were no Dryopteris x deweveri. After a long search, many D. affinis group (Scaly Male Fern) were spotted. On the way back a smaller area of Dryopteris carthusiana with D. dilatata possible D. x deweveri was discovered. No spores were to be seen but Ashley has plans to return to see if there are abortive spores.

All in all, it was a pleasant day fern spotting and next time hopefully more members will be able to attend.

Jane Markovic

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