2021 County Report for Monmouthshire

Stephanie Tyler and Elsa Wood

We recorded weekly in less-well covered tetrads and we entered almost 4,000 new records on Mapmate in 2021; many records came from other botanists, notably Heather Colls, Anne Griffiths and Lauri MacLean.

A survey of a sample of 70 arable fields was undertaken in the late summer and autumn by SJT and EW and among the species recorded were two rare and declining species - see interesting finds.  An article with the full results of the arable survey will be published in the next Welsh Bulletin.

The Rare Plant Register published online in early 2020 is still being revised because of recent finds. Some species such as Chenopodium glaucum (Oak-leaved Goosefoot) are more widespread than previously thought and this happily means that they now fail to meet the criteria to be included in the Register.

Monmouthshire Botany Group held monthly field meetings from May to September in 2021. The Covid pandemic put paid to a proper NYPH but two individuals were able to take part in Monmouth.

At the request of the local Records Centre and the Living Levels Project SJT and EW attended a bioblitz at a farm on the Gwent Levels near Newport and compiled a list of all the plants on the farm.

Surveys for the Monmouthshire Meadow Group revealed at least six more meadows that meet the criteria for designation as Local Wildlife Sites. SJT sits on the LWS Panel that determines designation.

Gnaphalium luteoalbum (Jersey Cudweed)

Two plants were found by Lee Gregory, growing in a plant pot with a large dying conifer at Garnteg Primary School, Garndiffaith, SO2660 0472 on 8 August; this is a new species for vc35.

Oenanthe pimpinelloides (Corky-fruited Water Dropwort)

Small numbers in two fields near St Maughans in SO40 were new for the hectad

Sisymbrium orientale (Eastern Rocket)

A plant by the roadside in Cwmcarn Forest Park in ST2294 was new for the hectad

Verbascum lychnitis (White Mullein)

One plant was found by EW adjacent to a maize field down on the levels near St Pierre Pill; the only other site for it in the county being at Rogiet Country Park.

Euphorbia exigua (Dwarf Spurge)

Two plants were found of this county rarity by SJT and EW at the edge of a wheat field near Llanvair Discoed; no other recent records since plants were seen at Dingestow Court in 2017.

Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit Dead-nettle)

Eight plants in flower were noted by SJT and EW in a beet field at Cwmcarvan, Trellech. Only one other record exists post 2000 in vc35 for this threatened plant – at Magor Service Station off the M4.

Briza minor (Lesser Quaking-grass)

Plants found by Julian Woodman in a maize fields near Gobion were the first recorded since found by Heather Colls in 2002 near Wonastow