2021 County Report for West Lancashire

David Earl

The ongoing pandemic resulted in the cancellation of most our planned field excursions for 2021 but many local naturalists continued to make botanical observations within the restrictions and over 7,300 records have been imported to Mapmate thus far with 903 species having been recorded. A limited amount of targeted 10km recording was carried out during 2021 mainly in the south of the vice-county and along the coastal regions. Species monitoring included Anacamptis morio (Green-winged Orchid) counts at Silverdale as well as a trip to the former ironworks slagheaps at Warton where several populations of Clinopodium acinos (Basil Thyme) and Centaurium pulchellum (Lesser Centaury) still occur.

In addition, there were probably in excess of 9,000 vascular records with over 1,000 species entered to iNaturalist for 2021 for VC60, thus far not all these records are being transferred to iRecord as records without images generally come under the casual record category. In addition to general recording, three major iNaturalist projects which generated vascular plant records were the City Nature Challenge 2021 (30th April to 3rd May), the European Bioblitz (24th to 25th September) and the Wyre Coastal Bioblitz (6th June to 31st July) with the latter capturing over 4,000 vascular plant records, around 600 species and a first record for Tropaeolum ciliatum (Yellow Flame-flower) when access to a disused railway was granted.

Clinopodium acinos (Basil Thyme)

Clinopodium acinos at the former ironworks slagheaps at Warton.

Tropaeolum ciliatum (Yellow Flame-flower)

This species was found sprawling over bushes by DP Earl & Mike Clapham when access was granted to a disused railway at Thornton Cleveleys SD3441 for the Wyre Coastal Bioblitz 2021.

Rubus armipotens

A few plants of a bramble thought to be this species were discovered by DP Earl & Mike Clapham when access was granted to a disused railway at Thornton Cleveleys SD3441 for the Wyre Coastal Bioblitz 2021.

Laphangium luteoalbum (Jersey Cudweed)

First discovered on a pavement by Preston railway station SD5328 by Peter Jepson in 2006 but the plants did not persist. Further populations have now been found on bare ground, pavements and paths at Fleetwood SD3146 & SD3246 by DP & J Earl, 2021.

Hieracium villosum (Shaggy Hawkweed)

A plant thought to be this species was discovered at Silverdale SD4674 by Roger Spooner in 2020 growing between a pavement and a wall with two plants present in 2021.

Borago pygmaea (Slender Borago)

Found at a hedgerow in cutting below a garden at Silverdale SD4575 by Julie Clarke 30/10/2021.

Aponogeton distachyos (Cape Pondweed)

A patch of this species is now established along the Lancaster Canal Carnforth. One to look out for along the canal as this species may become invasive.

Rubus × knappianus

Plants resembling Rubus cockburnianus (White-stemmed Raspberry) were observed along the disused railway at Ribbleton, Preston in 2012 by DP & J Earl. On a return visit in 2021 the plants were seen in flower and considered to be the hybrid of Rubus cockburnianus and Rubus idaeus (Raspberry) = Rubus × knappianus.

Rubus intensior

Eventually found in 2020 along railway banks east of Blackpool Pleasure Beach SD3033