EVENTS

               Members Reports and Photos

 

sunday 21  september 2014                                                                       moore abbey monasterevan, Co kildare            

LEADER: Mark McCorry

Woodland Flora
Moore Abbey Wood, just outside Monasterevin, is owned and managed by Coillte. Originally planted in the1960s with a mixture of broadleaves and conifers, the forest is gradually being transformed to broadleaved woodland dominated by beech and ash, which is being managed primarily for biodiversity and recreation.

2014 has been a prolific year for fruits with sloes, haws, beech mast and rose hips. Two particular srriking autumn fruits were in evidence -  the Guelder Rose Viburnum opulus and Spindle Eunonymus europaea. Both of these plants are calcioles and are frequently found in natural hedgrerows and the edges of wood and i their leaves develop their autumnal colours. 

'Green' leaves contain an abundance of chlorophyll. Where there is much chlorophyll in an active leaf then the green pigment masks other colours. Light regulates chlorophyll production, so as autumn days grow shorter, less chlorophyll is produced. The decomposition rate of chlorophyll remains constant, so the green color starts to fade from leaves. At the same time, surging sugar concentrations cause increased production of anthocyanin pigments. Leaves containing primarily anthocyanins will appear red. Carotenoids are another class of pigments found in some leaves. Carotenoid production is not dependent on light, so levels aren't diminished by shortened days. Carotenoids can be orange, yellow, or red, but most of these pigments found in leaves are yellow. Leaves with good amounts of both anthocyanins and carotenoids will appear orange.  

Other signs of autumn were the development of powdery mildews and leaves of plants such as the Oak Quercus robur and the presence of Tar Spot Ascomycete fungus Rhytisma acerinum on Sycamore and Maples (Acer species) which develops in late summer. The Wych Elm Ulmus glabra continues to fight the Dutch Elm disease cause by another ascomycete fungus Ophiostoma ulmi which may not kill the host which usually regenerates by suckering. The bark beetle Scolytus multistriatus is the normal vector.

Herbaceous flowering plants get much more difficult to identify at this time of year and often give ID skills a severe  test. Amongst those noted were the Fleabane Pulicaria dysenterica, Common Centaury Centaurium erythraea and Eyebright Euphrasia agg. 

         

          

  Viburnum opulus                                     Eunoymus europaeus  fruits                        Viburnum opulus

       

   Centaurium erythraea                                       Centaurium erythraea                                            Pulicaria dysenterica    

 

Ulmus glabra

 

Powdery Mildew on Oak                    Rhytisma acerinum on Sycamore 

   Photographs © Alexis Fitzgerald

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