2021 County Report for Merionethshire

Jo Clark

The Meirionnydd Naturalists group met monthly from April to October in 2022, with a few people meeting in smaller groups. Our aim this year was to record in SSSIs and update records.

  • We started on the coast at Fairbourne Spit where we re-found the impressive Allium ampreocaulum (Wild Leek) var. babingtonii from 2019. Carduus tenuiflorus (Slender Thistle) and Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. maritimus (Sea Radish) were notable finds.
  • Next we went to Castell Prysor, a beautiful grassland site where we found Arabis hirsuta (Hairy Rock-cress) and Alchemilla filicaulis (Hairy Lady's-mantle) on the mound and one plant of Serratula tinctoria (Saw-wort).
  • In June, we visited Morfa Dyffryn where the fields behind the dunes held such delights that we were hard pressed to reach the dunes themselves. Notable finds were Parentucellia viscosa (Yellow Bartsia), Cynoglossum officinale (Hound's-tongue), Dactylorhiza incarnata (Early Marsh-orchid), Epipactis phyllanthes (Green-flowered Helleborine), Neottia ovata (Common Twayblade), Agrimonia procera (Fragrant Agrimony), Euphorbia portlandica (Portland Spurge), Anacamptis pyramidalis (Pyramidal Orchid), Euphrasia arctica (Arctic Eyebright) and Epipactis palustris (Marsh Helleborine).
  • In July we were back to grassland habitat at Muriau Gwyddelod where we were able to count Coeloglossum viride (Frog Orchid) spikes with 10 of us walking in a line across the fields, reaching a grand total of 216 orchids. See photo below by Annie Seddon.
  • In August, we re-found the Dryopteris aemula (Hay-scented Buckler-fern) at Ceunant Llennyrch and a trip to the River Dee in September we recorded Carex vesicaria (Bladder-sedge), Sanguisorba officinalis (Great Burnet), Salix × fragilis (Hybrid Crack-willow) and Urtica urens (Small Nettle).
  • The church community at St Cadfan’s, Tywyn invited us to survey the churchyard in October and there we found Polystichum setiferum (Soft Shield-fern) and recorded 67 plant species and provided advice on managing for wildlife.

Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. maritimus (Sea Radish)

“A rare and fugitive plant” to quote Arthur Chater. It was growing on the edge of the sand dunes at Fairbourne SH6114 in April. The identification was confirmed by taste.

Dryopteris aemula (Hay-scented Buckler-fern)

This fern was found at a well known location for this species in Ceunant Llennyrch. We wanted to become familiar with this species, which was a paler green and with a frillier, messier frond and easily distinguished from the ubiquitous broad buckler fern.

Euphorbia portlandica (Portland Spurge)

This spurge growing on the sand dunes at Morfa Dyffryn has red stems differentiating it from Sea Spurge.