Cotherstone, 8th July 2018, in this walk we discovered Narrow Buckler Fern, Latin name Dryopteris carthusiana. Discovery of this fern dated back to 1699.This was a pale blue colour fern, bipinnately divided, erect fronds and no shuttlecock-like crown. We found the fern near old tree stumps among many woodland mosses. Narrow Buckler Fern is in decline in this country.
We found another interesting grass in this walk, not far from this fern, was Wood Millet Milium effusum, a tall green grass with wide flat leaves and a pointed ligule.This pretty grass was first described by Gerard in 1597. Both these plants were ancient woodland plants.
Forest-in–Teesdale, 11th August 2018, we found False-Sedge Kobresia simpliciuscula , an important plant discovered in the Widdybank Teesdale forest by Rev.Harriman in 1797. We were excited to see this sedge and perhaps this was the exact place of discovery so long ago.
We recorded Knotted Pearlwort Sagina nodosa growing close to a boggy site near the river Tees. This plant was discovered also in a boggy ground in 1633.The leaves of this plant looks like knotted along the stem and five white unnotched petals were twice length of sepals.
Grass-of-Parnassus Parnassia palustris was another interesting plant we saw in Forest-in-Teesdale walk, first recorded 1571.
This solitary flower has five green-veined petals but in the centre there are five fertile stamens alternating with five sterile stamens with yellow glandular tips. Pollinating insects go for these glands. The five longer white fertile stamens has anther at the top covered with pollen but at this stage the organ is no longer present. Only one stamen is active at any time. The ovary is situated at the centre with four stigmas. This stigma opens up to receive pollen when all the stamens are empty and it is this mechanism that prevent self fertilisation.
29th September, Teesmouth, here in the upper salt-marsh mud flats we found Shrubby Sea-blite Suaeda vera, a nationally rare plant. This plants formed many patches with Common Glasswort Salicornia europaea agg. Shrubby Sea-blite is a petal less flower but has five sepals and inside contained five stamens and three stigma, all active ingredients for pollination. These species have thick leaves that were compatible with salt rich habitat. This Arabic sounding name came from Suwayda. An 18th century taxonomist Peter Forsskal discovered the plant during his visit to Red Sea in 1760.
2018 was an excellent year of plant discovery for our field club. We have visited different unique sites and discovered unique plants. It was not only finding the plants but enjoying plants structures in evolutionary terms.
We identified some Hawkweeds and they were verified by David McCosh. One of our plants found a place in the British Museum. Whinnies, a nature reserve in Darlington we identified two Hawkweeds, Hieracium exotericum and Hieracium grandidens, and in Rowley walk, 22nd July, we found Hieracium strictiforme.
Christine Wright has found Small Teasel Dipsacus pilosus in Richmond and there has been a very old record of this plant in the club. Jill Cunningham has discovered Water Bent Agrostis semiverticillata, a rare introduced grass that has not been recorded before by the club.