12 April 2015

Notthill specialities

view of Threecliff Bay from Notthill
Yesterday, we attempted to relocate two of Gower's scarcest plants, both known to grow at Notthill above the rather scenic Threecliff Bay. We were fortunate in that we inadvertently stumbled upon the the first of these before we'd even started looking; Upright Chickweed Moenchia erecta. Initially discovered new to Glamorgan by Quentin Kay as recently as 16th May 1992, with a few other small populations found subsequently in the local area, this is still a very rare plant and the original 9m x 1.5m colony is now reduced to 1.5m x 1m (that's assuming it was the same colony we stumbled upon?).
Upright Chickweed
The other target was Lanceolate Spleenwort Asplenium obovatum, a species I've looked for unsuccessfully on two other occasions. Fortunately the site has recently received management that has removed the dense growth of Bracken and Bramble that was covering the wall frontage on previous visits, providing much better access and visibility. A systematic search eventually produced five plants growing in the ORS conglomerate retaining wall, these presumably the same plants last seen by the late Tony Lewis on the 10th April 1998. It is not known whether this is E.F. Linton's Penmaen site of c 1900, so there always remains a possibility there could be another wall population of this unobtrusive species awaiting rediscovery.
Lanceolate Spleenwort


Barry Stewart said...

Julian Woodman informs me: 'David Barden found a new Asplenium site near Tonyrefail a couple of years ago (I see there is an old record labelled Pontypridd in Flora of Glam).

I remember a record of Moenchia from the Hypochaeris glabra site at Sker in the 90's but probably around the same time as Quentins? There is a good colony with the Hypochaeris glabra at Pant Marie Flanders Ogmore down.

Its' amazing Moenchia wasn't recorded before 1992 in Glamorgan.'

GMT said...

David posted about this on the East Glamorgan wildlife blog at the time: http://eastglamwildlife.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/a-rare-glamorgan-fern-at-tonyrefail.html

Barry Stewart said...

Thanks George - I'll look it up now...