2023 County Report for Worcestershire

Cesca Beamish, John Day, Tom Ward

During our second year, the North Worcestershire Flora Group made 1095 records of 472 unique taxa across nine sites ranging from acid grassland SSSIs to urban streets in autumn. This included 44 Axiophytes and 27 listed on the Vascular Plant Red List for England.

We have built a strong association with the local Wildlife Trust and this winter will be encompassing their botanical study group.

A county first record was created following the determination of Brachypodium rupestre (Tor-grass) frequent on Windmill Hill SSSI, with Ononis spinosa (Spiny Restharrow) and Astragalus glycyphyllos (Wild Liquorice).

Orobanche rapum-genistae (Greater broomrape)

Found by Peter Stroh, tucked away in a bramble patch growing in close association with Broom, just north-east of Papermill Meadow. Bramble scrub had been cleared from the area the previous winter which may have been beneficial to the Orobanche. Previously recorded on site in 1993.

Spiranthes spiralis (Autumn Lady's-tresses)

Found during our visit to Castlemorton Common SSSI. Over 100 flowering stems were counted in a small area on the east side of the road.

It was a particularly interesting day also recording Helosciadium nodiflorum (Lesser Marshwort) and Oenanthe fistulosa (Tubular water-dropwort) in a stream channel, thanks to Michael Liley and John Bishop. The ground has since been thoroughly trampled by cattle so it will be interesting to see if these species survive in spite of or because of the disturbance.

Bupleurum tenuissimum. (Slender Hare's-ear)

Found on Hollybed Common where hundreds of plants were in dense swathes along a sandy track edge. Once studied, we could then pick out less abundant patches distributed within the grassland.

Silene dichotoma (Forked Catchfly)

Worcestershire’s only previous records were in arable fields in 1886 (SO96), 1888 (SO84) and 1900 (SO75). So its discovery in 3 novel locations (Churchill SO8779, Lower Smite SO8859, Droppingwell SO8074) during 2022 and 2023 is notable. The occurrence aligns with a small surge in records nationally during the last decade. It appears to be an uncommon seed contaminant in some wild seed mixes.