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Members Reports and Photos

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Sunday 15th September 2013

Upland Flora Turlough Hill

Leader: Con Breen

Report: Pat Lenihan

Despite high winds, driving rain, and poor visibility, an entrepid band of botanic warriers rendezvoused as scheduled at the Wicklow Gap. Dissuaded and rebuffed by the elements from pursuing a high latitude outing to Turlough Hill, Con commanded us to beat an orderly retreat to lower slopes near the Oghill Brook at  Ballyknockan. This was the site where Brunker recorded Hammarbya paludosa in1928 (Flora of County Wicklow, 1950), and where it was seen in 1994 and 1995 by members of the DNFC. Therefore, one of the objectives of the outing was to seek this inconspicuous orchid.

We commenced our quest by exploring the numerous flushes in the sloping, boggy fields. Our leader described the flushes as “dead ringers” for Hammarbya and our expectations were heightened when Pinguicula lusitania, an “indicator plant”, was sighted on a number of occasions. By early afternoon, not having found our quarry, we lunched in glorious sunshine before resuming our search for the elusive one.

We did not find the Bog Orchid. However, during our expedition, in this interesting habitat, we saw a wide selection of representative species such as: Hypericum eloides, Potamogeton serypllifolia, Drosera rotundifolia, Viola palustris, Achillae ptarmica, Carex demissa, Carex binervis, Carex echinata and Huperzia selago. The area still contained sizable populations of Myrica gale, as previously described by Brunker, as well as Vaccinium oxycoccus, with its relatively large red, acidic -tasteing berries, a species also recorded in this location by DNFC members in 1994. 
PL

   

      

 

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