First Week Hunt 2009 - 5th March Cheshire

Lamium maculatum Capsella bursa-pastoris Lamium hybridum

Usually I start with local flowers when trying a first week hunt but leaving these until last gave a little more time for one or two to develop. Lamium maculatum (Spotted Deadnettle- above left) is appearing more and more in the wild in these parts will flower too. Capsella bursa-pastoris (Shepherd's-purse - above middle) is another winter weed which will carry on growing and flowering as long as the temperature stays above freezing and isn't killed by frosts. Lamium hybridum (Cut-leaved Deadnettle - above right) is more often found without flowers round here so it was lucky that the only one discovered was in actually flower.

Lamium purpureum Arabidopsis thaliana Luzula campestris

Lamium purpureum (Red Deadnettle - above left) is one of the commonest weeds on our local allotments but crouching down to photograph such plants is viewed with great suspicion by the allotment tenants. "Can I help you?" one enquired in that special "Get Lost" tone of voice. Not unless you can tell me if Stachys arvensis is still in flower I answered (I knew it wasn't). Still, nearby I found Arabidopsis thaliana (Thale Cress - above middle) and in the grassland several flowering spikes of Luzula campestris (Field Woodrush - above right). The allotmenteer still viewed my strange activities with suspicion - after all you dig these things up and chuck 'em on the compost heap don't you? You certainly don't take photographs of weeds, only a mad person does that.

Erophila verna Cerastium glomeratum Ceratocapnos claviculata

By the main A56 the sun had brought the Erophila verna (Common Whitlowgrass) into full flower. Studying the plants carefully I tried to convince myself that they were very glabrous and so might be Erophila glabrescens but there were some hairs on the leaves so E. verna it has to be. In a nearby field there was plenty of Cerastium fontanum (Common Mouse-ear) in leaf but no hint of any flowers and then I found a Cerastium with just hint of white. It was Cerastium glomeratum (Sticky Mouse-ear -above middle) with a single floret peeking from the bunch of sticky buds. Later on the acid sandstone for which Cheshire is famous, I found plenty of Ceratocapnos claviculata (Climbing corydalis - above right) in full flower.

Petasites hybridus Pentaglottis sempervirens whole Pentaglottis sempervirens close

The earliest flowering Petasites hybridus (Butterbur) in our local area is inaccessible. It grows by a main railway line and can be seen from a nearby bridge only with binoculars. Using a zoom lens and propping it up on the bridge parapet, I managed to get a photograph of several spikes which had clearly been in flower for a while. Near the Bridge there were also several plants of Pentaglottis sempervirens (Green Alkanet - above middle and right) but most were just leaves not even buds. Then after some searching a plant with a single flower was found just as the rain started to fall.

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