Saturday, 22 March 2014

Bird-in-a-bush and least yellow-sorrel

Yesterday we had a family visit to some friends who live north of Boston, and on the way we dropped in at Kirton to do a very quick session of botanical recording. I'd had a look at the existing records and ascertained that there was only one post-2000 record for the tetrad, so the data would be useful. I'd also noted that there were a couple of records for bird-in-a-bush Corydalis solida, a species I'd never seen naturalised, though we have it in the garden.

As usual we headed to the churchyard first, and I was amazed to see prolific quantities of this species growing in a shady area under a row of Tilia x europaea and Aesculus hippocastanum. It is very distinctive, having beautiful purple flowers and lobed bracts. There are few records for Lincolnshire, although it does seem to have turned up more frequently in churchyards than its other habitats, which can include woods and hedges.

 The other exciting species for me was least yellow-sorrel Oxalis exilis, which was flowering on the wall around the churchyard, and was also locally abundant at the base of the church. It is quite similar to procumbent yellow-sorrel Oxalis corniculata, which is a major weed in my garden, but it never has purple foliage. Additionally the inflorescence is always one-flowered and only five stamens have anthers, whereas all ten stamens of O.corniculata have anthers. It's a native of New Zealand and Tasmania, and in South Lincolnshire seems to be more frequently recorded in fen towns than in other parts of the vice-county.

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