2022 County Report for Cardiganshire

Steve Chambers

Activities during the year focused on targeted updates of entries featuring on the most recent edition of the Rare Plant Register (RPR) supplemented by surveys of more or less randomly selected tetrads covering both lowland and upland environments. Located c. 2 km northeast of Cardigan town, the Banc y Mwldan SSSI holds the largest area of calcareous fen in the county, and with it several VC-rare plants. Howard Williams and Ruth Harding while visiting the fen to update RPR records spotted a spike of a puzzling orchid. Initial investigations suggest that it is a strong candidate for the intergeneric hybrid × Dactylodenia ettlingeriana (Dactylorhiza × Gymnadenia), which would be the 1st VCR. It has been duly flagged for a priority follow-up visit in 2023. Also on ‘mission RPR-update’, Tim Rayner & SPC found new sites for Elatine hexandra (Six-stamened Waterwort) at Pond Rhosrydd and in a small hilltop pool near one of its strongholds below Banc Llwynwnwch.  Yusef Samari (YJS) has been active in the Cardigan area finding new sites for VC-scarcities, including Barbarea verna (American Winter-cress) and Erigeron acris (Blue Fleabane), while on RPR work in the hills Dylan Davies revisited all the known historic sites for Rubus saxatilis (Stone Bramble), one of which appeared to have been obliterated by ‘forestry operations’. In April SPC & YJS found a plant of Spergularia rupicola (Rock Sea-spurrey) growing in an unusual lignicolous habitat in a cleft on the side of a dead tree trunk washed up on the Teifi estuary (see photo by Y.J. Samari).  

Poa infirma (Early Meadow-grass)

Found new for the Vice-county by Steve Chambers on the salted road verge of the A44(T) below Bwlch Nantyrarian in May. Though inland and upland (300 m alt.) the roadside is a known hotspot for other plants of coastal grassland, including Poa compressa (Flattened Meadow-grass), the halophytic Plantago coronopus (Buck’s-horn Plantain) and Sagina maritima (Sea Pearlwort). The grass is the third of a trio of nationally ‘on the move’ grasses to be found new for the VC in the last two years. The location is currently the most north-westerly one for the species in Britain

Geranium nodosum (Knotted Crane's-bill) & Allium roseum (Rosy Garlic)

While updating for the RPR the record of Luzula forsteri  (Southern Wood-rush) at the species’ sole VC site at Ferwig chapel near Cardigan, SPC found the 2nd VCR of naturalised Geranium nodosum (Knotted Crane’s-bill) and the 4th of Allium roseum var. bulbiferum (Rosy Garlic) on a bank at the edge of the burial yard.