There is still some colour on the road sides and river banks, but most plants are looking bedraggled and windswept. There is the yellow of the Sow-Thistles and Ragwort, Blue of the Scabious and Harebell, pink of the Knapweed and the common Thistles, but they are well-past their best. But there has been some lovely colour this year. The Umbellifers give, in our area, a white background to the other more colourful plants. One of the earliest is Cow Parsley and one of the latest is Burnet Saxifrage which has been in abundance on the river side and on the bank going towards the Falls car-park. Even more delicate is the Upright Hedge Parsley with a pink tinge to some of the umbels.
The last Orchid in our area to appear in any numbers is the Fragrant
and this was well in evidence at Kilnsey and Dowber Gill, as was Carline Thistle, sparkling in the sunshine .
One of the members saw Frog Orchid
on the Brae Pastures, a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Reserve with views over the Ribble Valley. Nearer to home but also high up on Birks Fell and Tarn Bog Asphodel
was seen and unknown leaves turned out to be Cloudberry,
not often recorded by the group.
The Skipton area continued to be investigated by one member who noticed Hemlock Water Dropwort along the canal.
Autumn Gentian has been seen locally, Field Gentian on the high fells
and Marsh Gentian
at the Skipworth Common reserve.
Very recently the weather appeared good enough and the roads quiet enough to go over the tops to walk the Malham Board Walk which is now open and operating a one-way system. The white Grass of Parnassus was in good numbers and the Devilsbit Scabious looked really colourful in its deep blue. They made a good contrast both in colour and type of growth. These two couldn’t really be missed but there were others about if looked for carefully. Tormentil, a plant that seems at home in any habitat was easily seen, but there was also the yellow of Lesser Spearwort and the colourful orange seed pods of the Bog Ashodel were in several places. There was plenty Watermint about, the blue more subdued than the Scabious.
Of course it was the usual slow botanical plod going round. After a while I noticed two more folk who were doing something very similar, taking a long time to get not very far. Eventually I caught up with them and was surprised and delighted to find they were two members of the botany group! Smiles all round I think! 3 pairs of eyes are better than one or two. As we progressed round we saw the pink remnants of Lousewort, lots of Bogbean and Marsh Cinquefoil leaves, quite a lot of Cross-leaved Heath, a few still in flower and the small blue flowers of Water Forget-me-Not.
However, the best was yet to come. We had gone through the area dominated by Birch and mosses and came to an area of boggy low grasses where in the past we have seen Cranberry and Round-leaved Sundew. And there indeed were the the unmistakable leaves of the latter with the sticky red hairs round the edges, all ready to digest any unspecting insect! When we got our eye in there were several small clumps on the edge of pools within the Sphagnum. Our more local carnivorous plant – Common Butterwort is more easily seen with its rosette of lime green leaves.
So, a Botany Season like no other has ended and hopefully not to be repeated. I hope the wild flowers have been enjoyed in one way or another by the botany group and others and I look forward to April 2021.
I must apologise if the placements of text and photos is peculiar on whatever gadget it is being viewed on. I am not competent to do better!!