Weekend Botany at Walker

This weekend provided a nice opportunity for our new local botany group to visit Walker Riverside. Here’s what we encountered.

Botany (and wildlife recording in general) can often be a solitary affair. For many of us, I suspect, myself included, that suits us just fine. At least most of the time. Sometimes, however, it is nice to do things as a group. Not least only for the company but also for the support and increased brainpower that comes with combining noggins!

It is for the reasons listed above that a few friends and I wanted to get the ball rolling on a new informal group for botanists North of the Tyne. Both to make things a little more social and support one another and to ensure that we’re working with local experts to capture important plant records. I am pleased to say that this weekend, this came to fruition with our merry band meeting for the first time at Walker Riverside in Newcastle.

As you’ll see from the photos below, we had a jolly good day and learned a lot. A big thank you to those who came along! Now, what about the plants?

Walker is a very diverse site I have written about several times. What never fails to surprise here is the tendency for it to throw up new and unusual discoveries, several of which were made during our visit. Atlantic Ivy (Hedera hibernica) was a particularly interesting one and nice to compare with some nearby Common Ivy (Hedera helix) and Persian Ivy (Hedera colchica). Megs Rogers, VCR for South Northumberland, also came up trumps with a candidate for Small Gorse (Ulex minor) and last month’s county first Balkan Spurge (Euphorbia oblongata) was also admired. The latter ID may well change now someone more knowledgeable than I has taken a look…

As a group, we also noted several other interesting plants between St. Peter’s Basin and Walker Riverside Park. Clustered Bellflower (Campanula glomerata) was still in bloom, as was Cut-leaved Dead-nettle (Lamium hybridum) and Green Field-speedwell (Veronica agrestis). Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) was a nice find on the cycleway, and rare locally, and it was nice to note Blue Fleabane (Erigeron acer) still clinging on. A few other finds are mentioned alongside some excellent photography in Ho-Yin Wong’s tweet below.

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