Sunday, October 28, 2018
Flowers & fruits, September 2018
On inspecting some rose hips growing over our garden shed, I was pleased to discover that the plant is a small-flowered sweetbriar (Rosa micrantha) rather than the common dog rose. Note the small, white glands on the hips and elsewhere It is a much more straggling plant than the normal sweet briar (Rosa rubiginosa) - there is a good coloured illustration of three of the sweet briar species here: https://www.delta-intkey.com/angio/images/ebo04681.jpg
It is the main wild rose in part of Brede High Woods a mile or so away and the plants scent the air with an apple-like fragrance after rain.
Another pleasant surprise was the discovery of a baby wild service tree (Sorbus torminalis) at the end of the garden. It looks like a seedling, but I suspect it is a sucker shoot from trees that grow a few metres away to the west. The separate leaflets on some of the leaves is a variation that occurs occasionally in wild service trees and will not necessarily persist as the tree matures. It shows the affinity with the rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) which, of course, has all the leaflets separated.
In Killingan Wood up the lane, there is a small group of Crataegus x media, the hybrid between common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) and the Midland hawthorn (C. laevigata). The shrubs have a distinctive leaf shape, halfway between that of the parents and the fruits vary between having one or two styles. The C. monogyna is common locally, but I have not come across the other parent C. laevigata here.
We have several self-sown Cotoneaster spp. in the garden and the one below is, I think, C. simonsii, but it is a difficult genus with many species grown in gardens and very ready to hybridise.
At the end of the warmer months a plant of wild marjoram (Origanum vulgare) still has plenty of flowers and is a welcome port of call for the hoverfly Helophilus pendulus, sometimes known as 'the footballer' because of the stripes on the thorax. The early stages occur in all kinds of water bodies from lakes to muddy puddles and marshy areas. Sometimes the larvae are found in cow dung too.