Thursday 5 November 2020

Settle Wildflowers - Day 94 - Green 10 - Nettles and Dock

On 1st November a small group of us (three actually) from Churches Together went on a walk - as a "Walk and Pray for the Environment" exercise.   Soon after setting off at the bridge next to Settle College/riverside walk  we found Stinging Nettle and Dock leaves- both in flower (the rest of the story continues at the end) I think the damp weather encourages the stigmas to show up more. It got greyer and rainier as the afternoon progressed

Nettle - Urtica dioica  
Dioica refers to dioecious which means two houses. So nettle plants are either male or female. Some houses (nettle plants) have male flowers with anthers and pollen, and other plant have female flowers with ovaries and feathery stigmas. The female flowers turn into fruit.

The nettle and dock site

Here are photos I took earlier in the year on a drier day 

25 Sept Giggleswick Station

  4 June Settle

"Come an photo this" said Sally - It's green too". and it was. 
It was a broad-leaved dock  - the dock you rub in your leg if you get stung by stinging nettles.
And it had better flowers than specimens I had recorded other places that were actually in fruit.

Broad-leaved Dock - Rumex obtusifolia

In the above, rather wet, Broad-leaved Dock - the tepals (like three green petals) are still small and the teeth have not grown.

Above are the flowers  
In Broad-leaved Dock, as they develop onto three sided fruit, one side has a big wart - as seen in this plant at the Hofmann Kiln on 7 July

I went back on 6th when it was not quite so wet:

The tepals in the fruit have developed big teeth.

The broad leaf of a Broad-leaved-Dock

A picture of some big Broad-leaved Dock leaves by the River Swale in September

On 28 September I visited Asenby  (50 miles from Settle) 
beside the River Swale near Topcliffe at the VC 65 boundary
The broadleaved Dock had developed huge leaves there.

More dock flowers

 More on the walk: 

We intend to do this on the 1st of each month in a national programme of "Fast and Pray for the Climate".

The weather forecast was wet, but I thought "Hey ho, we'll do it and advertise it so that people will hear about it and then on 1 December lots more people will come." 

Little did I realise that the government would declare that from 5th November until December 2 at least we would be under lockdown again in England. With group size of people meeting outside reduced from 6 to 2!!

So Revd Stephen Dawson, Sally Waterson and I met at Settle Swimming Pool Car Park, First stop was a short prayer then we set off. 

 Stephen carrying his litter picker stick, 
Sally and I carrying a big dustbin bag each to put the litter in. 
Sally had a new selfie stick to photograph us setting of with her phone.
 I had my waterproof Olympus Trip Camera to photograph wildflowers en route.

Second stop was the Settle Reverse Archimedes Screw. 

(The water turns the screw which generates electricity) It was generating electricity at a fine rate. There was lots of water to make it turn quickly but the river was not too high so that there was a still a big drop at the weir. ( with solid rain all evening, by midnight the river would be at record high levels but the drop in water level would then be much less, so the electricity generated less) Here we met a family from Messy Church with the two young boys excited to see the giant screw.

We followed the river downstream, past Settle College, 
past the foot bridge,  
past ARLA Dairy where there had been a covid outbreak earlier in the year, 
over Penny Bridge 
to the Allotments.

On the way round I recorded 25 different species of wild plants in flower. Not as many as the 60 plants that Sally and I found on the Craven Conservation Group walk in Upper Settle o 3 August - but a right good showing.

Click here for more  Settle Lockdown Wildflower Walks

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