Flora Notes

001 Ramsons (Allium ursinum)
In 2008 I seeded some ramsons on the edge of the grey poplar copse, near the stream. 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 are spreading.
002 Soft hornwort (Ceratophyllum submersum)
Introduced into the pond experimentally in April 2017. Water levels were low that year, but the hornwort started to grow. May 2018 it is not (yet) evident.
003 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.
004 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.
005 Wood strawberry (Duchesnea indica)
Not a strawberry at all though it looks similar. Leaves are very similar, but it has a yellow flower. It has a tasteless fruit which is white and looks like a small strawberry. It may be found behind the railway embankment.
006 Canadian pondweed (Elodea canadensis)
Probably Elodea canadensis, but there are two other similar (rare) Elodias. This was first noticed April 2017 in the main pond. If it's been there a long time, it had not been thriving, but has done well in 2018, possibly because of the reduction in the Chara or because the pond now has water flowing through it so is much clearer. In early June 2018 patch of it has reached the surface and was flowering - though you have to look closely at it as the flowers are tiny, borne on long thread-like stems.
007 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 they are doing better - but are in the part of the grey poplar copse that is a path.
008 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. May 2018 it is forming large floating mats on the surface.
009 Wood avens (Geum urbanum)
First noticed 2012.05.23, but it's a very common garden weed!
010 Floating sweet-grass (Glyceria fluitans)
First (provisionally) identified April 2017 in the lower occasional pond. Grasses are difficult until they flower!
011 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.

Twelve more small plants were introduced May 2018. However they are not doing well. In early June another reason for their poor performance became clear: there were three ducks on the pond - eating frog-bit and other water plants!

012 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.
013 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 in the Chara. It has flourished this year - probably because of the reduction in the chara.
014 Yellow rattle (Rhianthus minor)
Yellow rattle<br>young plants
Yellow rattle
young plants
Some areas were seeded with Yellow rattle in autumn 2017. Yellow rattle is semi-parasitic on grass, so weakens its growth. This helps other plants (i.e. wild flowers) to flourish. In May 2018 the yellow rattle seems to be doing very well.
015 Pineapple weed (Matricaria matricarioides)
First noticed 2013. It is however locally quite common - just across Reach Road, on the footpath opposite Love Lane.
016 Adder's tongue fern (Ophioglossum vulgatum)
First noticed 2013 by Cambridge Flora Group but is still present in 2017.
017 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. However the area is too dry for it to be at its best.
018 Cowslip (Primula veris)
Cowslips were plentiful. 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.
019 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.
020 Thread-leaved Water Crowfoot (Ranunculus trichophyllus)
Water crowfoot flower
Water crowfoot flower
The Water Crowfoots (the Batrachian group) are difficult to fully identify. One key feature is whether the plant grows undivided, floating leaves. This one does not. 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 in its land form is flowering (so identifiable), and growing divided emerse leaves (another key identification feature).
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.
May 2018. The pond being full, the crowfoot has proliferated and is present in several places in the pond. It has also flowered,
021 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 won't eat it fresh), in modern times this is not a problem and it does have many benefits for wildlife.
022 White campion (Silene latifolia)
First noticed in the Swamp June 2013. But it's been in Love lane for a while.
023 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.
024 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. The causeway was built up in early 2018 and the Colt's foot is no more. It was not flourishing in the place it was, close to the occasinal pond.
025 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.
026 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.
027 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 2013/4 adjacent to Love Lane. Not all survived for long.
028 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.
11 June 2010 Water plantain proliferating
11 June 2010 Water plantain proliferating
Water plantain severed by a water vole
Water plantain severed by a water vole

029 Thyme-leaved speedwell (Veronica serpyllifolia)
thyme-leaved speedwell<br>Minute flowers
thyme-leaved speedwell
Minute flowers
Thyme-leaved speedwell<br>Habit
Thyme-leaved speedwell
A single plant appeared in 2017, some time after the area around the hazel in the south west corner had been cleared. It did not flower until May 2018 when it was identified. There are more plants beside the path behind the railway embankment.
030 Fringed water lily (Nymphoides peltata)
Not related to the true water lilies, one plant was introduced in autumn 2017. It started to grow so two more were introduced in spring 2018. By the 20th May 2018 all three plants had to leaves floating.
031 Fennel pondweed (Potamogeton pectinaceus)
Some was introduced to the pond in spring 2017, from the New Forest. It didn't like where it was introduced but settled elsewhere (at the east end of the pond platform) where it is flourishing. Fennel pondweed looks very much like an aquatic grass.
032 Grey poplar (Populus canescens)
The trees were initially mis-identified as Aspen - a very similar tree.
033 Black bryony (Tamus communis)
Although first logged in 2018 it has clearly been here for some time.
034 Black horehound (Ballota nigra)
In early 2017 a plant appeared by the gate post at the entrance to Love Lane. It managed to mature enough to identify before it was strimmed!
035 Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)
The Rowan <br>flowers are just visible
The Rowan
flowers are just visible
It was though there were no Rowans present but there is one, hidden on the old railway embankment among the common ash trees - rowan is also known as the mountain ash because of its similar foliage. It is tall, with a high canopy, so no low foliage and it is behind a tall hawthorn which also has white flowers at the same time of year. You have to be in almost the exact place to be able to see it! The photo shows why it was not spotted sooner.
036 Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum)
In 2018 a single Alexanders A single plant appeared in the poplar wood, near the path. A seed was probably carrried in on someone's shoe; the seeds are the correct size to stick in the tread of car tyres, so have been spreading around East Anglia's roadsides. This is a maritime plant which likes full sun. It is not a woodland plant so survival is unlikely.
037 Water violet (Hottonia palustris)
some of this was introduced with the fringed water lily. It is flourishing. It is a fairly local plant, and rather beautiful. It may also be found in Burwell lode and in ponds in Quy Fen.
Oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
Quite common in the locality, none were logged until 2018 when a few were evident.
The Oxeye daisy is also known as the Moon daisy, Dog daisy or Marguerite.

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First published Saturday the 18th of November, 2017.
Last modified: December 29 2019 10:12:43.
Written by Richard Torrens.
© 2018 - 2023 Richard Torrens.