2023 County Report for Cardiganshire

Steve Chambers

2023 County Report for VC46 Cardiganshire

Steve Chambers

The year proved highly productive for novelties and rarities, generating four first, five second and one third vice-county records (VCRs). Between them 35 different resident and visiting botanists (Danny Ardeshir (DA), Dave Armstrong, Ruby Bye, Caroline deCarle, Steve Chambers (SPC), Arthur Chater (AOC), Helen Clow (HFC), Dylan Davies, Trevor Dines, Sheena Duller, Susannah Fleiss, Gill Foulkes, Peter Foulkes, Oli Glenister, Amy Goodwin, Chloe Griffiths, David Hawkins, Andy Jones (RAJ), Doug Lloyd, Justin Lyons (JPL), *Carys May, Jane Morgan (JM), *Laura Moss, Jo Parmenter, *Yusef Samari, Bob Shaw, *Kate Smith, Paul Smyth, Lyall Spencer, Matt Sutton (MDS), Mary Moylett, John Warren, Jim Wilkinson, Howard Williams & Annette Williamson (ACW)) collected several thousand records from 114 tetrads (21.5% of all in the county) across 27 of the county’s 34 hectads.


During the year the Aberystwyth Botanical Society held nine well-attended meetings at which members enjoyed camaraderie and a wide range of the county’s best plant habitats, including ancient woodland, hay meadows and rhos pasture, and the West Wales Biodiversity Information Centre (WWBIC) arranged a number of bespoke recording days at previously un-accessed sites, for which I extend my gratitude to the organising staff* involved.


Space limitation precludes mention of all but a few of the most interesting finds here. The 3rd VCR of Secale cereale Rye as a casual was made at Goyallt farm, whose owners have embarked on nature-friendly land management. 2nd VCRs were made for Cardamine raphanifolia Greater Cuckooflower (SPC) in wet woodland S of Llanarth, Hypericum hirsutum Hairy St. John’s-wort (ACW; naturalized near Llandre), Lagurus ovatus Hare’s-tail (the very same plant independently reported within minutes of each other by DA & RAJ in Aberystwyth), Pyracantha coccinea Firethorn (SPC) in a woodland near Llangeitho, and Spiranthes romanzoffiana Irish Lady’s-tresses (JPL & JM; an entirely new location at Cors Fochno NNR remote from the original site, which bodes well for the survival of the species there). 1st VCRs were made for Equisetum × robertsii (arvense × telmateia) Anglesey Horsetail (MDS, at the Mwldan sand quarry), Malva multiflora Smaller Tree-mallow (Llanrhystud sewage works, where it was first found in 2020 by Tim Rayner; refound (SPC & HFC) this year and confirmed by Fred Rumsey), Mauranthemum paludosum Annual Marguerite (AOC, wall base by Aberystwyth harbour), and Phedimus hybridus Siberian Stonecrop (SPC, naturalised in the Pant-y-Defaid chapel burial yard, Pren-Gwyn).    








Drymochloa sylvatica

Drymochloa sylvatica (syn. Festuca altissima) Wood Fescue: growing on steep rock faces in a narrow river gorge on the Afon Ystwyth c. ½ km downstream W of Pont-rhyd-y-groes, SN733720, July 2023, Matt Sutton (photo © M.D. Sutton). In modern times this VC-rare grass has been found only in the Rheidol gorge woodlands in the county and the Ystwyth gorge is a new site.

Hypericum hirsutum

Hypericum hirsutum Hairy St. John’s-wort: naturalised in Llandre, SN624865, August 2023, Annette Williamson (photo © A.C. Williamson).

Malva multiflora

Malva multiflora (syn. Lavatera cretica; L.sylvestris; M.pseudolavatera) Smaller Tree-mallow: Llanrhystud sewage treatment works, SN532693, Steve Chambers & Helen Clow, August 2023 (photo © S.P. Chambers). Originally discovered here by Tim Rayner in 2020. Confirmed August 2023 by Fred Rumsey.