A smaller number of members than usual met to look at the plants on the drawdown area or the shore, of the reservoir. We used the car park overlooking the small inlet which has access to both sides of the reservoir.
We looked first at the shore nearest the car park, once we had managed to get down the short embankment wall. A bit tricky for some whose joints were a bit stiffer than they used to be! This shore was of shingle with some damper areas especially as we got to the embankment wall. The plants were a mixture of those that seem to turn up anywhere eg Birdsfoot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus, Knapweed Centaurea nigra, Silverweed Potentilla anserina and those that like a damper habitat which were the ones we were most interested in. There were some lovely groups of Sneezewort Achillea ptarmica some growing amongst the Willow shoots, and shorter than usual the Whorled Mint M.verticillata a hybrid of the two most common mints, Mentha aquatic and M.arvensis.
We were pleased to see again Bur Marigolds Bidens tripartita, which we saw at Fewston last year.
The leaves are trifoliate which the name suggests, but not always easy to see. At the bottom of the wall was Marsh Pennywort with its small circular leaves.
Prevented going further by the water we retraced our steps to the embankment wall which was quite wet and provided good examples of the later flowering plants of the Dock Family, all growing together in a small area to make comparisons easy – Knotgrass Polygonum aviculare, Water-Pepper Persicaria hydropiper, Redshank P.maculosa and Pale persicaria P.lapathifolia.
Other plants were growing on the embankment wall itself, the blue Skullcap Scutellaira galericulata and higher up the pink Ragged Robin Silene flos-cuculi.
It was lunchtime, so we scrambled up the short wall and one of the group secured a sunny picnic table, thoughtfully provided by the Water Board. After a chatty meal we went over the bridge to the other side. This was a much damper area and there was ground cover by various plants. In particular a carpet of Lesser Hawkbit Leontodon saxatile with its bright yellow ray florets could not go unnoticed, but not so welcome was the New Zealand Pigmyweed Crassula helmsii an invasive species that can colonise damp areas and ponds to the detriment of native plants. It’s bright green leaves with tiny white starlike flowers are easy to see. Many of the plants seen on the other side were in some abundance here also, including the Marsh Ragwort Jacobaea aquatica with a more open inflorescence than Common Ragwort J.vulgaris.
Keen eyes picked out a very small plant with a pink flower Sand Spurrey Spergularia rubra the only Spurrey to grow inland. Seen through a lens it was really lovely, the five petals being separated by brownish sepals which were as long as the petals and pale edged.
Then the Marsh Speedwell was found, four white petals one with purple veins and with beautiful flattened notched seed capsules. These were good finds and more were seen once the ‘eye was in’. One of the smaller flowered Forget-me-knots, Tufted Forget-me-Not Myosotis laxa was found here and there with its bright blue flowers and in a small pool Water Purslane Lythrum portula, a small plant with opposite paired leaves and tiny pink flowers in the leaf axils.
We had had a really interesting day for our final flowering plant meeting of the season, everyone seeing plants which were either new to them or not over-familiar with. We ended the day with an ice-cream at the Smoke House, sitting in the sun, some almost dozing!!