Members Reports and Photos
SATURDAY 15 March 2014
LEADER: GERRY SHARKEY
Those members with a spring in their step were out with Gerry Sharkey for his spring walk in the Phoenix Park. It proved a perfect day to look for early flowering plants, shrubs, birds and insects as the weather stayed dry and sunny throughout.
from the Knockmaroon Gate our walk took us eastwards along the wall of the Park,
then down by the Glen Pond, up past the Furry Glen, turning from there back to
the Upper Glen Road and completing a circle via the Knockmaroon Road to where we
had set out from.
Gerry identified the following plants for us:
vineale (Crow Garlic), growing in tufts along by the wall, with evidence of
nibbling by deer at the first stage of growth.
ficaria/Ficaria verna (Lesser Celadine), in flower and in abundance, the
number of petals on flowers ranging from 8-12.
maculatum (Lord and Ladies), at early stage of growth and in abundance.
sylvaticum (False Brome), easily identifiable by its tuft of leaf blades
that tend to ‘flop over.’ It is a woodland grass usually on limestone
ground with long drooping spikelets. It tends to flower early before the tree
canopy closes and is wind pollinated.
robertianum (Herb Robert), in the early growth stage. Gerry pointed out its
importance as nectar and pollen provider for insects all summer.
palustre (Marsh Thistle), a rosette of dark green base leaves now only
evident, but which will take on a purplish edge as the plant matures. A tall and
media (Common Chickweed), much in abundance especially at tree bases.
hirsuta (Hairy Bittercress), some in flower.
annua (Annual Mercury), in flower and quite common, especially along the
dubium (Lesser Trefoil), it was appropriate to find this plant so close to
St Patrick’s Day as it’s considered by many the true Shamrock!
obtusifolius (Broad-leaved Dock), at early stage of growth.
sylvestris (Cow Parsley), in early stage and in abundance.
glomerata (Cock’s-foot Grass), recognisable by the down-turned spur below
cannabinum (Hemp Agrimony), the dried stalks and flower-heads of last
year’s growth distinctive.
purpureum (Red Dead-Nettle), occasional.
pseudacorus (Yellow Iris), the green blades pushing up through the shallow
area of the pond, its rhizome straight-line structure now quite evident.
petiolata (Garlic Mustard), its leaves when crushed smelling strongly of
The pond was unusually devoid of birds, only coot, water-hen and mallards visible. Many of the ducks were roosting in the sunshine. Up at the Furry Glen long-tailed tits were easily identifiable in the spring sunshine as they flitted from branch to branch showing their pinkish underparts.
the fine spring day, insects were still very scarce and almost invisible except
to the Tits. The occassional sighting was made of a 7-spot Ladybird which
had emerged from hibernation and of bees nectaring on Gorse (Whin or Furze) (Ulex
showed us the twig fungus, Scarlet Cup, red on top and whitish below, near the
pond edge. Nearby a number of Blackthorn trees (Prunus spinosa) were in
bloom, their flowers appearing before the leaves.
scolopendrium (Hart’s Tongue Fern) and Polystichum setiferum (Soft
Shield-fern) were identified by Gerry, but at the very early stage of growth it
was difficult to identify a number of other ferns. Some of them had apparently
been affected by weedkiller and looked very abnormal.
Sarcoscypha austriaca Alliaria petiolata Prunus spinosa
Ficaria verna Cirsium palustre 7-Spot Ladybird
Allium vineale Lamium purpureum Arum maculatum
Mercurialis annua Participants Prunus spinosa
Mercurialis annua Polystichum setiferum
Photos © P Lenihan
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