2021 County Report for Glamorganshire

David Barden, Barry Stewart, Karen Wilkinson & Julian Woodman

The remarkable discovery of a small population of Orobanche picridis (Oxtongue Broomrape) on 24th May at Port Talbot by Darryl Spittle, led to further searches which resulted in 200-300 flowering plants being counted within a 2.2 km2 area. Subsequently a photo taken in 2008 was found indicating that the species had been overlooked for at least 13 years.

We only held five Glamorgan Botany Group excursions in 2021 – one less than usual on account of Covid. But they were all well-attended, and covered a good range of habitats in the (historically) less well-recorded E half of the vice-county, including the dramatic wooded gorge of Cwm Ffrwd near Merthyr Tydfil (main picture, with Karen Wilkinson and Julian Woodman). See also pictures below.

Julian also led a BSBI excursion to the south coast, where Ranunculus arvensis (Corn Buttercup) and Scandix pecten-veneris (Shepherd’s Needle) were found to persist in small numbers in arable near St Athan. He also helped lead a Wild Flower Society meeting in the vicinity, where the hybrids of Cirsium tuberosum (Tuberous Thistle) with C. acaule (Dwarf Thistle) and with C. palustre (Marsh Thistle) were seen at Nash Point.

Orobanche picridis (Oxtongue Broomrape)

Orobanche picridis on 24th May 2021 at Port Talbot by Darryl Spittle

Orobanche picridis (Oxtongue Broomrape)

Photo taken by Barry Stewart in 2008

Viola × bavarica (A hybrid violet)

In limestone woodland at Leckwith on our May excursion, we were pleased to find a convincing patch of the rarely-recorded hybrid V. reichenbachiana (Early Dog Violet) × V. riviniana (Common Dog Violet).

Aconitum napellus (Monkshood)

A supposed native in South Wales, Aconitum napellus was locally plentiful on the banks of the River Taff near St. Fagans on our June excursion.

Vicia orobus (Wood Bitter Vetch)

In our July outing, high up on a quarry face near Quaker’s Yard, a solitary clump of Vicia orobus clings on where seen 14 years previously, one of only six v.c. sites.

Dianthus armeria (Deptford Pink)

Dianthus armeria was found in good quantity on our August excursion to the landscaped mine spoil of Parc Penallta.

Chamaemelum nobile (Chamomile)

On the same day, Chamaemelum nobile was locally plentiful on skeletal soils on the top of the tips – in only its second site in the east of the v.c.

Rubus saxatilis (Stone Bramble)

Cwm Ffrwd, visited by our group in September, is perhaps the only extant site in the v.c. for Rubus saxatilis – here showing its thin trailing stems and strawberry-like leaves.

Vulpia ciliata (Bearded Fescue)

Another notable discovery was Vulpia cilata, which was found to be not only widespread in the Baglan area, but locally dominant. Photographed in 2021 by Barry Stewart.