It seems that at the moment wherever you look there is Lady’s Bedstraw, growing so tall and looking so lovely. In the second featured image the plants are Common Catsear and Common Spotted Orchid, Eyebright, Bog Asphodel, Marsh Cinquefoil.

We had botanical interest from the first day of the month when the bird group went to St Aiden’s RSPB reserve at Garforth near Leeds. Of course the main interest was in the birds but all around us on each side of many of the paths were an abundance of wild flowers, many of them not found on the limestone grasslands nearer home. One in particular seemed to be everywhere we looked, at first glance it seemed to be Greater Knapweed, but the leaves were those of Common Knapweed. Further investigation identified the plant as Common Knapweed (rayed form) Centaurea nigra var rivularis

Common Knapweed rayed form

Common Knapweed


We had been very lucky with our weather on botany Tuesdays but not so on the 6th July when our destination was the hay meadows at Yockenthwaite. There was heavy rain and the meeting was postponed to Thursday the 7th. Unfortunatly most of the group had other arrangements so we were a small group which included a new member from Buckden and a friend of his who joined us on the way. As usual the meadows were beautiful, the predominant colour being the yellow of the Dandelion type flower, Common Catsear. There were many Common Spotted Orchids, and we had lunch at the footbridge where there was a good display of the Greater Butterfly Orchid.


There were of course many Grasses in flower and mixed in with all of that, colourful groups of Betony. Smaller plants included Eyebright and Common Mousear, and a few blue Small Scabious, but there were more Harebell, somehow it seemed too early for those.  We recorded 98 species which included many of the common hay meadow plants


A rare occurence of Yorkshire weather, would it be too hot for our meeting on the 20th July! The meeting was to the Malham Board Walk where the boarded path goes across the boggy, marsh area on the edge of the Tarn. In the event, 10 of us met. Of course it was a bit crowded at the beginning of the walk when we started recording what we saw. Gradually we spread out as different plants were pored over for identification. As at Yockenthwaite there was a prevalent Dandelion type species, in this case Marsh Hawksbeard, one identifying feature being the clasping leaves round the stem.  Everyone was very pleased to see the Marsh Cinquefoil with the very distinctive flowers. Several Rushes and Horsetails were named and the differences between Marsh and Fen Bedstraw were established – for the time being!! Sawwort was spotted, a new plant for some. The Board Walk goes through several different habitats, starting and finishing with the lush growth of the many varied plants which like a damp habitat and including those which seem at home in several different places.


Then there is a more barren landscape where the Bog Asphodel, Cross-leaved Heath and the Round-leaved Sundew can be found. On this hot day the Birch Woodland was particularly welcomed, providing as it did, welcome shade from the sun. As we got to the end of the Boad Walk arriving at the lane, an inviting moss-covered wall provided a rest for a late lunch for some, while others went to the shade of trees at the nearby Pennine Way footpath. It had been such an enjoyable day.

Christine Bell

Photos Christine Bell except below

Marsh Cinquefoil  Ian Hughes