Six wellie-clad members braved the ominous black clouds of the weather forecasts to explore the northern corner of Leash Fen. Leash Fen is a mosaic of acid grassland, heath and mire, and most of the hard work at this meeting was navigating the treacherous and tussocky mires around the Bar Brook, and not in finding the plants, of which there were a huge variety. I am happy to report that, apart from cranberry, all of the targeted mire plants were found.
We were particularly lucky to see the locally Red-Listed Marsh Cinquefoil in flower; blooming Bog Bean escaped us, but we at least saw its large trifoliate leaves, somewhat reminiscent of an overgrown clover. In no particular order, Marsh Violet, Marsh Pennywort, Southern Marsh Orchid, Bottle Sedge, Greater Tussock Sedge, Common Sedge, Ragged Robin, Water Mint, Bugle and Narrow-leaved Buckler Fern were all seen and appreciated. We were also able to compare Marsh and Heath Bedstraw, discovering that the latter could do a good impression of the former in marginal wetter areas, quite different from its typical, prostrate acid grassland habit. Short-fruited Willowherb was also tentatively identified using the Vegetative Flora of the British Isles (Poland & Clement, 2009).
If you fancy tagging along next time, see www.sorby.org.uk for membership details.
|Marsh Cinquefoil (Comarum palustre)|