Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Purple with rage

Some of the leaf stems on the ragwort rosettes are an enchanting purple colour. I wonder why: it does not seem to have much evolutionary advantage and might well attract the attention of pests and predators.

2014-04-14 ragwort stems

Marsh bird's-foot trefoil seems more abundant this year (maybe the wet winter?). There is figwort here and there and many black bryony seedlings that never seem to come to anything.

The ground to the north now has more of a woodland appearance with dead leaves, sticks and withered stalks and the grass very sparse. There was a buff-tailed bumble bee on the bugle flowers today, the third bumble bee species in the last three days.

There are some fine new shoots on the rose which I transplanted from elsewhere in TSM on 1 November 2004. Maybe I shall see it flower and be able to determine it to species level rather than Rosa canina agg.

I am always surprised at how quickly new leaves on trees and shrubs are attacked, though at this time of year it is usually impossible to find the culprits.  The hornbeam leaf below has a neat hole, but it 2014-04-14 16.29.27is the only damaged one I can find on the whole plant which probably has several hundred leaves.  It is near the top too which indicates that almost certainly the leaf-chomper had to climb a long way for this insignificant meal.