Tuesday, August 01, 2017

a few steps in the forest

During last week's visit to the New Forest, we made a couple of ventures into the woods. Here are some plants I saw --- all common ones in acid habitats, but interesting to us visitors from the limestone scarplands.

Scutellaria minor and Potentilla erecta

Lesser Skullcap (Scutellaria minor), growing alongside Tormentil (Potentilla erecta), ever-present in acid habitats.

Scutellaria minor

S. minor is a diminutive, slender plant, with fresh green untoothed leaves. The flowers are pretty if you get close up to them. When the flowers fall, the calyces resemble pillboxes with round lids.

Scutellaria minor

Juncus articulatus

Jointed Rush (Juncus articulatus).  It likes woodland rides, which is what the New Forest is all about. This was quite a small specimen, but rather eye-catching.

Juncus articulatus

Stachys palustris

Marsh Woundwort (Stachys palustris) growing beside a lane. (Actually I've seen this in Swindon, too, but in Swindon I was not inspired to photograph it. Call it the holiday effect...)

Gnaphalium uliginosum

Marsh Cudweed (Gnaphalium uliginosum). The genus always appeals to me, because it reminds me of the far north.  Although this particular species (Sw: Sumpnoppa) is mostly a plant of S. and C. Sweden rather than northern Sweden.

Seen here growing with Broad-leaved Plantain (Plantago major), looking rather more exotic than usual in these surroundings.

Gnaphalium uliginosum

Usnea ceratina

I know very little about lichens but could not  ignore this one, a magnificent tree-lichen that I discovered in a tangled heap on the forest floor (vaguely recalling computer rooms in the pre-wireless era).

(Thanks to Mary Breeds for the ID -- on the Facebook group for "non-flowering" plants.)

The FSBI site has this to say about the habitat of Usnea ceratina

On acid-barked old trees, particularly Quercus and Fagus, in relict woodlands and parklands where it is characteristic of well-lit sites on trunks of ancient trees particularly along waysides and in glades, also often on inclined or horizontal trunks and boughs in thin tree canopies; locally frequent in the south and west. [http://fungi.myspecies.info/taxonomy/term/6367/descriptions]

Which exactly fits the glade where I saw it, near Brockenhurst.



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