Autumn Gentian, Glyncorrwg
Autumn Gentian (Gentianella amarella) is an uncommon species of coastal, calcareous grassland in our area, e.g. south Gower cliffs. But the plant shown here was part of a fairly large inland population on a heathy verge at the side of a forestry road near Glyncorrwg. Other plants growing with it included Heather (Calluna vulgaris), Deergrass (Trichophorum cespitosum) and Heath Rush (Juncus squarrosus), all species typical of the acidic heathland or moorland that forms the upland matrix around the ubiquitous Sitka Spruce plantations. This is a surprising community for Autumn Gentian, a species normally regarded as a calcicole. However, forestry roads are often dressed with limestone grit, and in Neath Port Talbot (NPT) where natural calcareous soils are rare, this provides opportunities for species which would otherwise be absent or very scarce. So it is with Autumn Gentian, which I have never seen in NPT before.