Flora of Pauline's Swamp - notes

Ramsons (Allium ursinum)
In 2008 I seeded some ramsons on the edge of the grey poplar copse. 2009 they sprouted. 2010 they were just sprouting when sheep were introduced but they survived. However the area is too dry for them and although present they are not robust. However they are still present in 2017, and spreading.
Soft hornwort (Ceratophyllum submersum)
Introduced experimentally April 2017. Water levels were low that year, but the hownworn started to grow.
Stinking stonewort (Chara foetida)
This is the main plant in the permanent pond and forms mats on the mud. It is a type of algae. They prefer hard, less well oxygenated water so give a clue to the pond water quality. However the amount of stonewort present was enough to suppress higher plants. I the winter of 2017 some of the chara was removed and many higher plants started to flourish.
Wild carrot (Daucus carota)
First noticed August 2012. But very common locally so no surprise. This year the field is being managed by allowing it to grow: plants that cannot take grazing are therefore surviving.
Wood strawberry (Duchesnea indica)
Not noticed these until September 2011 when I noticed some fruits. But rather tasteless. At first it looked like a strawberry, but 2012 the patch had proliferated and is in flower: it has a yellow flower - definitely not a wild strawberry! Duchesnea indica seems to be a recent immigrant to UK and is usually found nearer habitation!
Canadian pondweed (Elodea canadensis)
Probably Elodea canadensis, but there is twobother similar (rare) Elodias. This was first noticed April 2017 in the main pond. If it's been there a long time, it's not been thriving, but has done well this year, possibly because of the reduction in the Chara.
Spanish bluebell (Endymion hispanicus)
2011. These bluebells are not flourishing: it's been too dry for them and the sheep trample and graze the small patch.
2013: This year several are in full flower. In later years theyare doing better - but are in the part of the grey poplar copse that is a path.
Willow moss (Fontinalis antipyretica)
First noticed in the pond March 2005. This is more common in rivers than in such ponds. It did not do so well in 2017 due to low water level.
Wood avens (Geum urbanum)
First noticed 2012.05.23, but it's a very common garden weed!
Floating sweet-grass (Glyceria fluitans)
First (provisionally) identified April 2017 in the lower occasional pond. Grasses are difficult until they flower!
Frog-bit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae)
Introduced experimentally in 2005. It did not flourish and soon died out - mainly because the over-wintering turions got trapped in the Chara so could not surface as they developed.
Great lettuce (Lactuca virosa)
First noticed August 2012. But very common very locally so no surprise. This year the field is being managed by allowing it to grow: plants that cannot take grazing are therefore surviving. In later years it has proliferated
Ivy-leaved duckweed (Lemna trisulca)
First noticed in the main pond March 2017. This is a plant that over-winters on the pond bottom, so would have been trapped inh the Chara. It has flourished this year - probably because of the reduction in the chara.
Pineapple weed (Matricaria matricarioides)
First noticed 2013. It is however locally quite common - just across Reach Road, on the footpath opposite Love Lane.
Adder's tongue fern (Ophioglossum vulgatum)
First noticed 2013 by Cambridge Flora Group but is still present in 2017.
Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)
One plant noticed July 2012: the swamp has not been grazed since 2011, which changes the flora. Wild parsnip is therefore on the increase.
Cowslip (Primula veris)
Cowslips were plentig=ful. But many sheep were grazing (up to 50 at times) around 1010 and they eat almost anything so the cowslips nearly vanished. In 2011 there were few signs of any cowslips
2013: with the lack of grazing in 2012, cowslips are once again on the increase. By 2017 there are quite a lot.
Greater spearwort (Ranunculus lingua)
March 2005: after the wet year of 2014, the fresh state of the pond has suited this. Over winter it has spread rapidly in the eastern corner of the pond.
March 2017: Summer 2016 was dry. The pond level sank to a low level resulting in conditions which the spearwort does not like. Seemed as if it has all died. The fact that someone dropped a white water lily (Nymphaeea alba) in the corner where the spearwort was has not helped as the lily is quite capable of out-competing spearwort. This lily was removed in September as it was in the wrong place - lilies are not marginal plants. However (April 2017) a couple of plants have survived and, as the water is now a lot better quality, may flourish.
November 2017. The spearwort seems to be doing well. In May a tall flowering stem was cut down by a visiting water vole. By now this plant has recovered and is growing well - spearwort is a northern plant and grows well in cold weather. Also the lily is no longer out-competing it. But the cut off stem floated to the other end of the pond and has established well there.
Thread-leaved Water Crowfoot (Ranunculus trichophyllus)
The Water Crowfoots (the Batrachian group) are difficult to fully identify. This one appeared in 2016 in the lower pond, which is dry in summer. Even the land form (which I first noticed as the pond was dry) had divided leaves.
April 2017: the crowfoot is not doing well: it has been eaten by the ducks so has not flowered!
May 2017: the pond has dried up. The crowfoot is flowering (so identifiable), and growing divided emerse leaves.
November 2017: Throughout the summer many more crowfoot seedlings have appeared. Several in the occasional pond but also a good number in the margins of the main pond where the water level has been very low.
Common ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)
Ragwort is an injurious weed under the Weeds Act 1959, so it has been regularly pulled. However, although it is dangerous to horses when it is fed in hay (they don't eat it fresh), in modern times this is not a problem and it does have many benefits for wildlife.
White campion (Silene latifolia)
First noticed in the Swamp June 2013. But it's been in Love lane for a while.
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
First noticed June 2013. In 2012 the swamp management changed: sheep are no longer grazed there, the area is rather managed as a hay meadow, removing grass in autumn. Paths are mowed through the meadow for access.
Colt's foot (Tussilago farfara)
The above is new, April 2011. It was introduced with clay that was used to line part of the occasional pond.
Blue water speedwell (Veronica anagallis-aquatica)
First noticed this 2010, but the sheep like it. By summer 2011 there were no traces! June 2013, it is back again, but not in the same place. This seems to be a plant that comes and goes. Some years it is common in Burwell Brook.
Germander speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys)
This is another plant that has arrived probably because of the ending of the practice of grazing sheep here. First noticed June 2013. In 2012 the swamp management changed: sheep are no longer grazed there, the area is rather managed as a hay meadow, with paths mowed through for access.
Introduced plants in Love Lane
These plants appeared in spring 2014 in soil that had been imported to make up a slope to the new fire-station, built in 2014 adjacent to Love Lane. Not all survived for long.
Water plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica)
In 2010 Water plantain was doing very well in the pond. But in subsequent years it has done less well - in 2017 only one plant was evident - and that got rather eaten by the visiting water vole.

Water plantain in 2010

Water plantain in 2017

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