Field meeting to Ryecroft Glen and Ladies Spring Wood (Sheffield), 24 May 2015
On a rather cold day a group of 10 met to record plants in two 1km squares on either side of the Sheaf Valley. Before entering the wood we noted Common Whitlowgrass (Erophila verna) in a bare area, with Bulbous Buttercup (Ranunculus bulbosus), Bog Stitchwort (Stellaria alsine) and Water Avens (Geum rivale) nearby in damp grassland. The latter is sometimes grown in gardens but had the appearance of being native at this site. The shady section of Ryecroft Glen held a good selection of woodland plants, including Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa), Red Campion (Silene dioica), Great Wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica), Moschatel (Adoxa moschatellina), Scaly Male-fern (Dryopteris affinis agg), Wood Meadow-grass (Poa nemorosa), Wood Millet (Milium effusum) and Wood Melick (Melica uniflora). There were also some garden escapes, a few of which are long-established. These included the silvery-leaved form of Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon argentatum), Box-leaved Honeysuckle (Lonicera pileata), Creeping Comfrey (Symphytum grandiflorum) and Skimmia japonica. The latter was probably bird-sown from a garden though it is not mentioned in Stace’s Flora and is rarely seen in the wild.
Lunch was taken at Dore Station where there was a convenient amount of seating but surprisingly few railway plants, though Sticky Groundsel (Senecio viscosus) was noted at the base of a wall. In the car park we saw Eastern Rocket (Sisymbrium orientale) and Hairy Tare (Vicia hirsuta).
Another small area of railway land yielded Common Broom (Cytisus scoparius), Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum), Common Vetch (Vicia sativa segetalis) and Common Figwort (Scrophularia nodosa).
The steep slope in Ladies Spring Wood was quite testing for some of the party, but along the path Common Cow-wheat (Melampyrum pratense) was in flower, and when we reached level ground we were able to view a colony of White Comfrey (Symphytum orientale) which has been established here for at least 45 years. Retracing our steps gave us Three-veined Sandwort (Moehringia trinervia) and a single specimen of Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata) hiding amongst Cow Parsley. 118 species were recorded in SK3181 with a similar number in SK3182, and all records have been passed to the VC57 recorder.
Images Mel Linney