Monday 15 April 2024

Settle Wildflowers 127 - 14 April 2024: Larch

The  deep red of young Larch flowers always astounds me. This is my regular larch tree to photograph, just over the bridge into Giggleswick, next to the former Middle School,  near the Swimming Pool. Picture taken on 12 April.

Larch tree

Sunday 14 April 2024

Settle Wildflowers 126: Four Willows: Purple Willow, Goa Willow, Crack Willow and A.N. Other


These four different species of willow were photographed in Settle/Giggleswick on Friday late afternoon-evening 12 April 2024

1.  Purple willow Salix purpurea

From Settle walk over the bridge towards the College, turn left and walk along the path between the river and the college.  Look at the willow shrubs between the path and the river. The first one is a male Purple Willow.  


These male catkins with their red anthers are quite spectacular.Purple Willow Salix purpurea likes to grow on shingle islands and beside rivers.

It is easy to recognise Purple Willow even when not in flower  because it is the only willow with leaves that grow opposite each other.  Here you see the female catkins growing opposite each other.

It grows beside the path between the river and Settle College.

Female Purple Willow

Can you see the male catkins? the anthers are red when they are young.

Quite spectacular.

A few meters further on there is some male Goat Willow by the river. Some of the male catkins are looking a bit bedraggled. They have relatively wide and short leaves, that are woolly underneath.

The next three willows all grow in the treed play area between Bond Lane and Settle Primary School

2. Goat Willow Salix caprea

There is a male Goat Willow  (Salix caprea) at the entrance to Settle Primary School. Goat Willow  is the willow species most likely to be found growing in a dry habitat. 

There is a male goat willow at the entrance to Settle Primary School. See its ridged bark.

This is a planted willow shrub in bond Lane Play area. I wonder if it is going to be Weeping Willow. or similar.

This is a planted willow shrub in bond Lane Play area.

This is a planted willow shrub in Bond Lane Play area. THese are female flowers. It has very long narrow leaves.

The big willow tree at the entrance nearest town (I think) is a Crack Willow. It has male catkins. I shall check when the leaves have grown a bit longer.

They have recently cut the ivy from the bottom of the tree,
and removed the ivy from the wall just behind it.
Maybe that is a very good thing. The ivy is spreading in booths Car Park and along the Railway.

I wonder if... .. in a few days I can go up to Malham Tarn Fen seven miles away, where I would be able to see an additional 6 species of willow (never mind hybrids)  - Maybe not - that is beyond my 2020 Lockdown area of search.. 

Saturday 13 April 2024

Settle Wildflowers 125 - 12 April 2024 Himalayan birch -The Tree Flowers - catkins - are peeking out everywhere-

"What are these planted birches near Booths with very white trunks and peeling  bark? Look at their male catkins!" (11 Apr)

"Betula  jacquemontii.  Himalayan Birch." helped a passing Margaret Wilding. "Thank you!." I answered.

 Tree flowers - catkins - are coming out!!  Now!.

I set off to Settle at 5pm on 12 April as the sun finally came out, armed with camera and hand lens. 

I discovered , not one, not two, not three .. but nine different tree species in with green flowers .. then one, two, three, four more - with brightly coloured flowers: Larch, Flowering Current, Cherry and Magnolia.. bringing my total to 13! (I lest them at the end of this post)

But todays blog only has the  Himalayan Birch. 

I started at the pump track (cycle track) at Millennium Gardens

Then went to  Bond Lane Play area near the Primary  School

Female catkin

Later I saw three more white flowers: 

For the record here are some more white flower I saw that evening, the Wild garlic and the Sweet Cicely (not really quite out yet) on the river path near Settle College.

and Thale Cress - a little in Booths Car Park.

Other Tree species:

Other Tree Species in flower:
  1. Silver birch
  2. Hornbeam
  3. (I include Osier Salix viminalis from the previous day)
  4. Goat Willow
  5. Purple willow (at {ath by river next to Settle College)
  6. Crack Willow
  7. A Garden Willow
  8. Maple
  9. Fancy alder (need to check) - almost out.
  10. Cherry
  11. Magnolia
  12. Flowering Current 
  13. Larch.
Have been out a while: Sloe; Elm.
Not quite out: Ash; Sycamore; Horsechestnut; Sycamore
Not out:  but buds - Elder
Not out definitely: Hawthorn; Beech; Oak;

Friday 12 April 2024

Settle Wildflowers 124 - 11 April 2024: River Ribble with Blue Moorgrass, Sycamore budbreak, Salix viminalis female flowers, mosses and Collema lichen-


Other Blue Moorgrass - Sesleria caerulea blogposts:

(Note this post could do with splitting into four - see the four pictures above.
It is 11th April. After several grey and rainy days (weeks/months?) I set off at 5.15pm round the outside of the field with the Ladies Smock - Cardamine pratensis, and down the fenced off bank to the river edge.  The bank including the path at the edge of the field was fenced off about 10 years ago by the Ribble Rivers Trust.

 This narrow grass path has turned to mud. and with the aid of my trusty walking pole  I climb down this fenced of slope to the river.
Here what used to be be bare rocks  kept so by - occasional flooding by the river, by sheep grazing in the past and by droughts -  the area is now covered with moss.. I brought some back to go in yet more packets.

I usually plan to go up to the hills to look for limestone outcrops where Blue Moor grass might be growing. Two tufts were growing well on this outcrops exposed by the river.


A Willow shrub was flowering 

Is it Salix viminalis, The Osier?  I shall come back in a few weeks and see if the leaves have grown a lot longer.

There are at least two types of black jelly lichens growing amongst the moss in the deperseions on the "Clints", in the shade of the tree.

The sycamore bud is bursting.. It is only Aril 11th and "THe buds don't break until 16th April" I say.

But we have had warmish miserble weather for the last two weeks.. so the buds are breaking. 

Elsewhere on  the same tree there are some leaves appearing and one inflorescence. There will be more by tomorrow. A walk in Settle the following day reveal other sycamore trees in leaf.

Monday 8 April 2024

Settle Wildflowers 123: Cardamine pratensis April 8 Sycamore buds almost out, dandelions just coming and lots more

 I love this time of year .. every thing is just starting.

This post deals with Ladies Smock, Elm flowers (- fruit), Sycamore buds, Nodding Melick, Dandelions, insects. 

And at the end, from last night - Luzula campestris, Phaeophyscia orbicularis lichen and Aspicilia calcarea

May used to be my favorite month when loads of flowers are coming out in rapid succession.

But the growth is happening now!  April 8th... 

And as my pictures picked up .. the insects!

I took pictures just now or Ladies smock and of  tree buds.. and now at home was impressed to see how many of the pictures also had in insects in the picture - the insects are coming out to make use of the growth.  

I noticed the pink Mayflowers/Cuckoo flower/ Ladies Smock in the field opposite me   has appeared since yesterday . Maybe because the sun is shining - may be because the past two days have had high temperatures (kept low by wind chill factor) 

The rest of the field is flat grassland improved in most years by application of manure, and with no noticeable wildflowers of conservation interest.  (The bank by the river has more of interest).

But Ladies Smock looks pretty!. and the leaves, like the leaves of bitter cress are edible. 

Oh the sun has gone now -- It's raining again!  April Showers. .. making the footpath by the river even muddier.

(Two months from now I may be writing of a drought... let's see.)

I have missed the elm flowers at their prettiest - should have been out a couple of weeks ago - but on these pictures you can still see the (dead?) anthers. and the hairy stigmas and the green fruit jsut starting to grow.

Over the river from the small elm tree you can see the Sloe in full bloom, and behind them on the bank the Beech whose buds have not yet opened.  The white garlic flowers have not yet come out on the bank under the beech.. but I can see the ground is looking very green with their leaves

Cardamine pratensis under the elm.

The sycamore buds on my "Reference Sycamore tree have not quite broken yet.. They break on 16th of april I always say.. but I suspect they will beak before that this year.  there was one bud on the tree that has already broken and has leaves

See that one greenfly has found this bud.

 I looked up and could not see the 36+ year old yellow plastic kite tail . I wonder if it has gone .. will bring my binoculars another day.

Below - pictures from last night. on the pasture limestone slope 200 m horizontal and 50 m vertical above  the Cardamine  meadow.