Sunday 14 March 2021

Settle Wildflowers - Day 105 - Why do Trees in March have red flowers? - Hazel, Alder and Elm


Hazel - 2 March - Low Bentham Churchyard

Alder on a walk near Langcliffe

Female Alder Flowers 

Wych Elm flowers - I must admit, they have opened
considerably since I picked them a few days ago.

Why should they all be the lovely red colour - 
they are wind pollinated and do not need to attract insects?

Scientists studying the physiology of fall foliage have suggested that the anthocyanins responsible for red colour in leaves – in autumn or spring –  may help them withstand cold and screen them  from damaging ultraviolet rays, air pollution, and various other assaults.

Settle Wildflowers Day 103: Snowdrops and Green Hellebore

21 Jan:

January and February are a thin time for wild flowers in Yorkshire, after the last  "New Year Plant Hunt" flowers of last year have died off.. 

However, here are some flowers in the Friends Meeting house on 21 Jan photographed after a Settle Hub Support Group.  Yes they are garden plants but they could escape...

By March there is a riot of plants in this garden.. but that is for another day

And  while you are here, Look at two lichens: 
Porpidia tuberculosa (Cigarette Ash Lichen) on the gritstone capstones of the wall

And looking up to Castleberg Crag there is Aspicilia calcarea with its big white patches

Sunday 7 March 2021

SD86 - 19 - SD8169a Xanthoria calcicola- Helwith Bridge

This is the "end" of my second strip of 1 km squares (monads) in SD 86. - My project to record all 100 monads  of my home hectad SD86 over ten years. 

Xanthoria calcicola

This post refers to the work in 2019 and 2020 surveying monads, 
leading up to and including the walk on 5 March 
when I found Xanthoria calcicola 
at end of this post

In 2019 (starting in March) I worked my way up the first strip from Rathmell (Monad 00 - SD8060)  to  Helwith Bridge quarry and SSSI  Bog (Monad 09 - SD8069)

In 2020 I worked the way - with several diversions -  up the second strip.  Starting from Monad 10 SD8160 - Mearbeck - Settle Junction -  noisy A65 - then through Settle, Giggleswick, Little Stainforth. Sherwood Brow  finally to Helwith Bridge  to Monad 19 - SD8169 - which is where we are at today. 

Much of it was done during "lockdown" and on walks from my house or from the supermarket carpark in Settle.

As leaves came out in April and May 2020 I went on walks concentrating on trees, leaving the rocks for later. Walks happened quicker than I had time to write up.. so some results still remain in packets or on sheets of paper.. Oh Dear. Mistake!! And then I started blogging about Settle Wildflower Lockdown Walks

When I commenced the project I only intended visiting a corner of each monad - Now I am visiting more and more of each monad.

It is March 2021 so I need to "finish" my second strip. I look at the map, and think "Helwith Bridge - SD8169 -  a five minute drive up the road - 2.8 miles away.. No problem. Have it done in a "jiff". 

(After all I already have some results from that hot Sunday last year when I walked up the deserted B6471 to Helwith Bridge Quarry Carpark beside the river and found Ramalina fraxinea on a tree beside the river and a beautiful patch of Peltigera species. ).

Lunchtime 1: (5 March)

Park at the Helwith Bridge Corner. (Where you would overshoot to if you are driving to fast along the B6479 just before the Helwith Bridge turnoff)  The dry stone walls in either side of the road between that corner and the Railway bridge reveal 11 species.

No Acarospora fuscata! or excessive Klebsormidium crenulatum (Nuisance alga) That is interesting. many of the gritstone walls higher up have a lot. Is this because  it is greywacke and slate and not gritstone. Or because it is low down in the valley bottom. Or because of   dust from the road. or because no manure has been sprayed. (Not the last - I saw manure on the field). The road is a bit dusty because of Lorries coming form the Roadstone Quarry.  

Have to come back for a Zoom meeting (A practice for a YNU Zoom Chat Meeting )

Evening 1:  (5 March)

Same parking place. I walk from the stile at the railway bridge by the slaty / greywacke wall beside the Railway. Find some nice fruiting Diploschistes muscorum - (growing on moss and mortar and mosses in cracks between the vertical slate capstones). 

Diploschistes muscorum -  See chemicals on left: K yellow, C red
- Apothecia described as urceolate - shaped like an urn or pitcher  deeply concave, cup shaped with the margins incurved

(Coincidence that I had found the same species though not fruiting on a limestone erratic just last week at Black Gill 10 km south)

I head for two big ash trees near a barn. Yep, my efforts are rewarded: I do a little jig

Normandina pulchella !!

Parmalina pastillifera!!

(These were both thought to be rare in this area at least.. I am finding them quite often now)

Normandina pulchella

Parmalina pastillifera

In the dwindling twilight I look round the outside of  the  old barn walls. Surely this Xanthoria is not ordinary Xanthoria parietina (though there is some of that there too, loooking green in comparison)

It is big but it is darker orange than the usual, it is not fruiting, and it has lots of curly wrinkles that could be described as isidia.

It is 18.10 and cold and almost dark as I return home. How wonderful that the days are now getting longer!!

Look out for part b of this Monad: SD86 - 19 - SD8169b. to be written up shortly .. maybe

Monday 1 March 2021

Lichens of Low Bentham Churchyard - SD644692

 Welcome to the Churchyard of St John the Baptist, set beside the River Wenning at 69m 226 ft above sea level, and beside the B6480.

There are many different habitats in the churchyard - I wonder if we can find a different lichen for each habitat?

  1. Sandstone in boundary wall
  2. Mortar in boundary wall
  3. Sandstone of church
  4. Slate/acid rock gravestones
  5. Limestone memorial grave stones
  6. Sandstone window ledges of church below lead of window
  7. Conifer trees with shaded probably acid bark
  8. Mown stony grassland
  9. Church Bench
  10. Church Notice board
  11. Deciduous Tree trunks (Oak, sycamore Ash?)
  12. Deciduous Tree branches
  13. Deciduous Tree twigs
  14. Boulders beside river
  15. A cement block - there has to be one somewhere..
  16. Long-grassland (unlikely to get lichens here)

Well that is 16 habitats - I wonder if we can find 15 lichens?

This post is only half finished - I have made two further trips since starting this page, and will add the new lichens found later. 

Wet Caloplaca flavescens on basic rock

Evernia prunastri On Oak tree branch

Parmelia saxatilis On Acid gravestone


Hmm - need to find a name for this - on a limestone memorial

There is one young oak tree that is really good for lichens

Psilolechia lucida - likes acidic stone surface.

Psilolechia lucida

Hypogyna revolouta maybe

Mezgeria violacea - thallose liverwort indicator of nitrogen compounds in the air.

Punctellia subrudecta on Oak Tree

Physconia grisia


Peltigera  hymenina

Peltigera hymenina

Punctelia subrudecta