Tuesday, 2 January 2018
Aliens on the streets
Without busting a gut I recorded 29 species, including a few exotics such as Trailing Bellflower, Snowberry (inset), Yellow Corydalis, Spotted Dead-nettle, Sowbread (Cyclamen hederifolium, main image), and Corsican Hellebore. The later species is present on a well vegetated central reservation on a busy road. I first came across it a number of years ago (when I braved the traffic to identify it) and it has flowered every year since. Today it is in bud. I did consider rushing across to get a photograph, but I didn't fancy causing a pile-up and spending the first weeks of 2018 in hospital. The usual suspects were also recorded and they enliven many a winter's day - so take a bow Yarrow, Daisy, Petty Spurge, Red and White Dead-nettles, Common Chickweed and Shepherd's-purse!
Some botanists baulk at 'escapes', 'aliens' and 'exotics' - call them what you will. But when you consider that much of our supposed natural flora has been introduced here by human agency (albeit several hundred years ago), to treat the modern equivalents in any different way seems unfair. As far as I'm concerned, a bank of dumped soil is like a botanical treasure chest. I can spend many happy hours wandering urban and suburban streets, checking alleyways, walls and grass verges for those opportunist plants.
Whatever your plans, hopes and aspirations are for 2018, good luck!