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Badgeworth Nature Reserve Glos WLT

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Liz Heard View Drop Down
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    Posted: 12 Jul 2019 at 5:37pm
Hi folks

I was recently given permission (thanks Ellen) to visit what used to be - prior to a modest expansion - the world's smallest nature reserve. Normally closed to the public, 80% of the site was a shallow pond which, in addition to boasting all 3 newt species, is home to the very rare (only 2 UK sites, both in Glos) Adder's-tongue Spearwort Ranunculus ophioglossifolius.
This plant is a poor competitor and has very specific needs in terms of seasonal draw-down levels and suppression of competition (a requirement traditionally met by the trampling of hoofed mammals).

The species differs from the similar Lesser Spearwort by bearing heart-shaped lower leaves and slightly smaller flowers with petals that do not overlap.

I've no idea how it got it's common name. As far as i can see, no part of the plant bears any resemblance to an adder's tongue!

   





Over the fence in the adjacent field i spotted a Crack Willow tree playing host to Giant Polypore fungus Meripilus giganteus. The name is justified as this species can grow up to nearly 2 metres!



Cheers
Ben
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chubsta View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chubsta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jul 2019 at 9:45pm
I have often wondered how you end up with such small populations of an organism, are they remnants of a far more widespread population that has died out or are they the result of a chance visit by something like a bird etc that has a seed stuck to it and which happens to land in the one place where it can survive?
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Liz Heard View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Liz Heard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2019 at 5:57pm
In this instance, similar to native herps such as lowland heath Sand Lizards and the Smooth Snake, the species is at the outer limits of it's natural range in southern England. In southern Europe, it is - as i understand it - a bit more widespread (tho' i don't know how much). So it seems conditions here have always been less than optimum and it's probably never been a common plant. The industrialisation of farming practices probably won't have done it any favours either.

I've read there's also a 19th C record for ATS in Dorset, so you never know. Worth keeping an eye out for those heart-shaped lower leaves if you're out herping down south.   

Edited by Liz Heard - 21 Jul 2019 at 12:23am
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Suzy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jul 2019 at 11:47am
Might it also be under recorded? I found an estuary/river supporting a particular plant, 20 years ago, that was supposedly confined to the south of England.This was in the north of England. Unlike crawling and slithering things flowering plants can spread wider afield, as you know, but the site has to be conducive to them becoming established. 
Suz
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Liz Heard View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Liz Heard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jul 2019 at 6:00pm
Yes, it's possible Suzi. Although from looking at BSBI records, i get the feeling that in most areas, plant recorders are pretty on the ball. Botany is popular and this is a 'fussy' species.
What was your plant?
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Suzy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jul 2019 at 11:20pm
I didn't mention the plant as I can't remember the name, or even the appearance! Maybe if I can dig out my notebooks from that time I might find it. It was in the estuary of the River Wyre opposite Fleetwood, a marvellous botanising place. 
Suz
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