Wild Monty

Chris Rose's Monty Botany

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Here are local botanist Chris Rose's reports from in and around Monty. Rather counter-intuitively the most recent is at the top.


Passed through Monty for poss the last time on 9th April and took loads of
botanical pix - Tuberous Comfrey in flower, Brooklime, Stone Parsley, the
Gorse in flower, two Asplenium species, escaped Californian Poppy seddlings,
better quality Eurphorbia myrsinites shots, sharper + now in flr Ger lucidum
in Wilson St, White Comfrey at Sevier St. etc. etc.

Won't have time to write up and send over til after I move, but here are a
couple of tasters - Silverweed (new record for Monty proper if my memory is
correct + Ground Elder (Bath buildings, Old England end), and Cabbage
seedlings (Bath Buildings, to side of Kwik Fit under Silver Birch).

Btw, there was an adult Harlequin Ladybird on the Viburnum by the station path on that date.


Cabbage seedlings

26 March


* Gooseberry is back by the advertising hoarding at foot of Station Rd, Montpelier, despite apparently being no longer extant / destroyed in the latter half (or more) of last year. Appear to be three separate plants.
* Brooklime opposite RM Office on Station Rd. is OK, but getting a bit overwhelmed by litter and old tree leaves.
*** A Euphorbia myrsinites (non-native species, but sold commercially) in flower in a narrow crack (not a designed-in planting pocket ....) in top of front garden wall 126 Richmond Rd, Montpelier, along with Dandelion and Purple Toadflax. Hard under a railing as well. Suggests self-seeded and not deliberately planted. No sign of this species in any nearby front gardens. I've not seen it self-seeded anywhere else and it's not listed in 'Flora of
the Bristol Region' .........
* 3 clumps of Lemon Balm in side wall, 30 Cobourg Rd.
* Greater Celandine still alive in pot, 51 Cobourg Rd.
* 3 probable Papaver sp. seedlings, wall foot by pavement, 78 Cobourg Rd.
* 1 Geranium rotundifolium, foot of wooden 'security' boarding round former garage on Lower Ashley Rd.
* Cow Parsley in Magdalene Place and Fern St.
* Lots of Garlic Mustard M32 end of Fern St.
** 1 Geranium lucidum by 'tatty' car park where Wilson St . joins Wilson Place. Nearest I've found this species to Monty proper so far. (Quite a lot of it in parts of the docks, and one seen on Whiteladies Rd a few weeks ago).
* Patch of Silverweed in raised bed outside St. Pauls Community Sports Centre, Newfoundland Rd. There doesn't seem to be too much of this around
town - or it's easily overlooked.
** Hairy Tare persisting by Grosvenor Rd. entrance to park at junction with Ashley Rd. About 16 seedlings at present.
* Lots of Lesser Celandine, some Lords and Ladies, Spear Thistles, plenty of Ivy-leaved Speedwell and a few Lesser Swine Cress etc. dotted around.
Avifauna: 1 Dunnock by fence area opposite RM Office, Monty. 2, probably 3 Goldfinches in St. Agnes Park.  


Geranium lucidum

Euphorbia myrsinites

Greater Celandine







Wanderings in Monty and St Werburghs 21.09.08

MONTY: - Self sown apple high up on embankment above Station Rd dropping very pale-skinned fruits (don't tell BCC or they'll want to chop it down as a major H+S hazard) - Veronica beccabunga luxuriating. - Station - Network Rail/FGW seem hell bent on futher wrecking vegetation with that new Comms mast and spoil heap up by tunnel - let's hope Moth Mullein survives! - 39 St Andrews Rd Ladies Bedstraw - although the occupants have stupidly been cutting the grass, there is a clump in flower on the pebbly raised bed to right of entrance. - Polypodium (fern - either Southern or Intermediate Polypody - oval sori) on inside of front garden wall, 6 Fairfield Rd. - Escaped Lemon Balm by alley to The Maltings near Fairfield School. - 1 x Hairy Tare again in park at Ashley Rd/Grosvenor Rd junction - Large grass, poss ex bird seed, behind Kwik Fit. Sample taken for later ID attempt.


OVER BORDER (Cameron Lee car park, Sevier Street - stuff I don't remember recording there before): - 1 x Common Toadflax in flower (cultivated area) - Germander Speedwell (cultivated area) - 1 x Erigeron karvinskianus at foot of wall further into car park proper


NARROWAYS (+) - stuff I haven't recorded the couple of times I've been there before: - 1 x Common Toadflax in flower under railway fence beyond the footbridge over Clifton Down branch - 2 x Tall Melilot (Melilotus altissima) at very top of the north side embankment on the Narroways site proper, near the railway fence. One in flower. More Melilotus (smaller, 'juvenile' plants) some way away in amongst trees in the 'Community Orchard' area. No sign of this species in surrounding localities. - That pinky-orange Kniphofia down in the cutting!

In Community Orchard 'thicket' ...... - 1 x a Spuria type of Iris (probably the white-flowered one known as Iris orientalis, which is sometimes seen in Bristol gardens). - 1 x Norway Spruce (Christmas tree) - 1 x another kind of Christmas-tree-ish conifer (more blue-grey needles, but in bramble patch so couldn't get a sample) - Patch of several Salvia officinalis (culinary Sage), natural grey-leaved form (there's another one in Simon's Grove) - 3 Aquilegia (ex cultivation ...)

In Simon's Grove - A few Raspberry canes - Oak with very large number of SILK BUTTON GALLS - Agent: Neuroterus numismalis, a Gall wasp - One leaf on same oak with 4 SMOOTH SPANGLE GALLS - Agent: Neuroterus albipes, a Gall wasp - Sycamores infected with Tar Spot, caused by the fungus Rhytisma acerinum.



Stony Path - Pyrancantha with fruit on railway side of fence by path - Woody Nightshade - Enchanter's Nightshade



NOT QUITE NARROWAYS ..... Prior to going onto Narroways I also carried on along the path and crossed the footbridge over the main line up to Parkway. Just beyond the bridge on the main path (ignore the down-hill track immediatly to the right) there were half a dozen Chicory (blue-flowered composite) in flower, three in rough grass on the left and three more at the foot of brambles on the right.

(PRETTY STRICTLY) MONTY BOTANY XII - Observations by Chris Rose, 28/4/08. Selected records only.

Station Road * Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), foot of railway embankment [Flora of the Bristol Region - ‘very rare introduction’] * 4 patches of distinctly creamy-yellow flowered Comfrey, just behind top of wall supporting the railway embankment. Flower colour, lack of winged stems (very prominent in Common Comfrey) and examination of internet photos makes me fairly certain this is Tuberous Comfrey (Symphytum tuberosum). [FoBR ‘rare introduction’, 7 records, zero within City boundary]. * Coltsfoot in flower, growing out from beneath coping stones at top of old wall abutting Chinese food market * 1 x Opium seedling in retaining wall/pavement interface, railway side * Nice patch of Common Vetch in flower just above retaining wall by dead tree stump near ‘new’ flats, more growing up through planted Cotoneaster * Brooklime still doing well under Pyracantha opposite the Royal Mail Office


Walled sloping path from Montpelier station footbridge * Somewhat perplexed by the array of tall Composites on either side – or rather the diagnostics in Rose ‘The Wild Flower key’. Best fit is Beaked Hawk’s-beard (Crepis vesicaria). The outer florets are distinctly striped underneath, but not in orangey-red as Rose says, but more a light pinky-grey to my mind (the one internet pic I found showing the undersides looks like it matches my perception of the colour). My main problem is with the ‘long-beaked achenes’ cited by Rose. I was able to extract some immature specimens and they lacked the ‘tail’ between the seed and ‘feathers’ illustrated in ‘TWFK’, though I suppose it’s conceivable that this develops with age.


Grass strip along path from Montpelier station to St. Andrew’s Rd. * Wood Dock (Rumex sanguineus) * Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus) coming into bud – two or three shoots to a couple of feet tall off ‘stools’ by the base of a Silver Birch, and another about three feet tall a few feet away. Don’t look planted. Maybe brought in as seed in soil around planted tree roots, from a tree and shrub nursery? * The two Gorse (Ulex europaeus) behind the wall opposite are still flowering strongly. * Lesser Swine Cress at St. Andrew’s Rd. end.

Other individual species * A few individuals of a yellow-flowered Oxalis species were noted growing in cracks at the foot of the wall around the disabled parking bays outside the Montpelier Health Centre. Various features indicate it’s not O. europaea, and that it matches O. corniculata (though lacking the strong red-purple leaf colour I usually associate with this species). FoBR cites two other yellow-flowered species that are not in my books. I have a piece to press and run past someone more expert than I. * A small Himalayan Honeysuckle (Leycesteria formosana) seedling – [FoBR ‘a rare escape’] in a crack in the pavement a short distance from the Health Centre. * Patch of Thyme-leave Speedwell in flower, Montpelier Park, St. Andrew’s Rd. A couple more patches in flower on the bank running along the side of the path from Brook Rd. to Albany Rd. (by the St. Barnabas School field).

* Lots of Cuckoo Flower (Cardamine pratensis) in flower in front garden lawn 15 Bath Buildings. 50+ in flower around the edge of the St. Barnabas School field, near the perimeter fence – visible from the path from Brook Rd. to Albany Rd. * Spotted Medick in flower in front garden lawn15 Bath Buildings. The rough ground by the Albany Arts Centre, Shaftesbury Av., has been ‘tidied up’ and on cursory examination I could not see the Spotted Medick (or Field Madder) recorded there previously. * A quite tall potato plant was growing out of a pile of rubbish around two Silver Birches on Bath Buildings, behind Kwik Fit. * Slender Speedwell (Veronica filiformis) in flower on the .bank running along the side of the path from Brook Rd. to Albany Rd. * Also at this location were emerging shoots of Enchanter’s Nightshade. * Hairy Tare, an annual, noted growing out of shrub border mulch in the park at the junction of Grosvenor Rd and Ashley Rd last year, has persisted, with several new plants present – though not yet in flower. No obvious sign of the Tufted Vetch in the garden round the corner, where the owners appear to have taken to cutting down the grass and other vegetation …... * Ground Ivy in flower in a grass patch by the end of Winkworth Place, near the junction of City Rd and Ashley Rd. * Bulbous Buttercup in flower, 72 Ashley Rd. * 1 x Mexican Fleabane (Erigeron karvinskianus) in flower, by pavement at foot of wall round Colston’s Girl’s School Sports Hall.


Observations made by Chris Rose, 30/3/08.

Coming back from London today I saw a definite Red Kite a quarter of a mile east of Cholsey station and another probable just east of Didcot. This highlights the fact that a certain amount of recording can be done even at 125 mph, and that locations away from stations can be pinned down fairly accurately using the line-side mileposts – or more accurately quarter mile posts. Those on the Great Western line are yellow and mark quarter miles with either spots or some other symbol. So we have 93, 93 above *, 93 above **, 93 above ***, then 94 and so on. In this case the distances are from Paddington. Unfortunately they aren’t marked on OS maps, or you could quickly convert them to a rid reference.

I am particularly interested in heathland vegetation, and at this time of year Gorse and Broom can easily be identified at high speed. But so can things like wild Primroses and Marsh Marigold. At slower speeds around stations less flambouyant things can be recognised. There was a Brimstone at Chippenham station, and there’s a stand of at least 18 Stinking Hellebores just west of the old goods shed at Bath.

Once back in Bristol I walked across the centre of town to attend the excellent BRERC Recorder’s get-together at the Wills Memorial Building, then onward to Westbury Park.

A recent newspaper article had flagged up the decline of Coltsfoot and Scarlet Pimpernel. The former was in flower in the open-air car park behind the Empire and Commonwealth Museum at the old station (as was Alexanders and Common Whitlow Grass) and on the ‘triangle’ around Portwall Lane. The latter was growing around the base of a tree near the WMB, along with a Weld seedling and Lesser Swine Cress.

Wishing to check something around St. Michael-on-the-Mount, I headed home up St. Michaels Hill. There was a swathe of the very small Common Whitlow Grass (actually a member of the Cabbage family) in flower in the cobbles all the way up the raised pathway that is on the left as you ascend the hill. At the top, on the other side, some Oxford Ragwort was in flower.

The most interesting find was of the small Rue-leaved Saxifrage (Saxifraga tridactylites), a plant I’d not seen before. The leaves are distinct, being narrowly three-lobed, with a long thin section below the branching point. One was spotted in flower between the pavement and the brick wall surrounding the slightly incongruous ‘modern’ development bounded by Paul St., Little Paul St. and Myrtle Rd., near the bus stop on St. Michaels Hill. There were 7 more round the corner in Paul Street, also in the narrow crack between the brick wall and pavement. The Flora of the Bristol Region describes this species as ‘uncommon’, with between 7 and 9 records (you can’t tell from the small size of the maps which side of the gorge two of them were from) within the Bristol City boundary. So if you want to see these plants, get there soon in case the weed-killer guys beat you to it ……


Observations by Chris Rose, 29th February 2008

Things are stirring in the undergrowth on Station Road, where new leaves of Green Alkanet are emerging, and this year’s shoots of Traveller’s Joy (Clematis vitalba) are springing forth. A clump of a plain yellow Daffodil cultivar, growing above the retaining wall, brightened the scene.

Ivy-leaved Speedwell seedlings abounded, with the majority of those already in flower occurring on the sloping path up to the railway footbridge.

The unsightly mess created on the disused former ‘up’ platform (presumably by Network Rail, though First Great Western claims responsibility for management of the station) is worse than one can tell from Des’s photograph on the diary pages. Whatever fool(s) thought spreading an uneven layer of ballast spoil right the way along it would be an improvement on the carpet of vegetation that had developed, and would create anything other than an eyesore that gives the appearance of a dump site, should be forced to shovel the whole lot into an engineering train (by hand) so that it can be taken away for recycling. Or are they hoping the seeds of some rare, scree-dwelling mountainside species will blow in from afar?

Elsewhere, Stone Parsley foliage was back in evidence at the fenced compound opposite the Royal Mail office, and the ‘high and dry’ Brooklime still looked in good condition. The yellow flowers of Coltsfoot, held singly on scaly leafless stems, were showing colour and were about to open both here, and in a modest but larger swathe in the rear section of the park on St. Andrews Road. The leaves will appear later in the season.

White Deadnettle was in flower on the slope above the hard-court, whilst the Lesser Celandines here were more attractive forms with silver-grey blotched leaves. Close inspection at a break in the shrub cover on the bank next to the Old Vicarage site revealed a relatively large amount of Thyme-leaved Speedwell, along with a great deal of Self Heal.

Those who struggle to get beyond the confines of ‘Upper Montpelier’ will rejoice in the fact that Spotted Medick has now been, er, spotted, north of the psychological barrier that is the Picton St– Richmond Rd– Fairlawn Rd line. In the front garden lawn of No. 11 Bath Buildings to be precise. The leaves are clover-like, with a more-or-less prominent, usually v-shaped black mark in the centre of each of the three leaflets. There was also a solitary Weld seedling here, out of plain sight just behind the wall, and some young Spear Thistles next door. Yellow Corydalis was in flower behind Kwik Fit.

Not far away, by the slip road to the car park under Armada House, below Dove Street, several clumps of Black Medick were in flower, along with a few Nipplewort. Ox-eye daisy plants were noted at the margin of the large ‘raised bed’ in the centre of Fremantle Square.


As shamelessly voted for by myself, Chris Rose.

Area defined as that bounded by the Clifton Down railway line, Ashley Hill, Sussex Place, Ashley Road and Cheltenham Road. Plants seen on the opposite sides of these roads to Montpelier are not included – in other words the boundary is taken to be down the middle of the road.

1) Brooklime (Veronica beccabunga) under a Pyracantha opposite the Royal Mail office on Station Road.

2) Moth Mullein (Verbascum blattaria) on the disused part of the used platform at Montpelier station [first spotted by Des Bowring]

3) Lady’s Bedstaw (Galium verum) in a front garden lawn on St. Andrews Road [independently spotted by both Des and myself]

4) Spotted Medick (Medicago arabica), rough patch of ground by the Albany Community Arts Centre on Shaftesbury Avenue.

5) Field Madder (Sherardia arvensis) rough patch of ground by the Albany Community Arts Centre on Shaftesbury Avenue.

6) The umbellifers Stone Parsley (Sison amomum) and Wild Carrot (Daucus carota) by the fence of the compound opposite the Royal Mail office.

7) The Poppy family plants Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus) on Coburg Road and Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) in the fenced compound opposite the Royal Mail office.

8) The small wall-growing ferns Asplenium trichomanes, A. ruta-muraria and Ceterach officinalis on the slope up to the Montpelier station footbridge.

9) Lesser Swine Cress (Coronopus didymus) and Swine Cress (Coronopus squamatus) in Montpelier Park. The former seems fairly common around north Bristol, but I have only found the latter in four locations. This is the only place with both so far. Included to keep top S.C. fan Des B. happy ......

10) Gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa) plants – one in Montpelier Park, more at the bottom of Station Road.

PART VIII. Not much botany from around Monty.

Observations made by Chris Rose on 15/12/2007.

ASHLEY VALE ALLOTMENT ASSOCIATION SITE – I was surprised to find that the track at the north end of the site (opposite the junction of Ashley Hill and Ashley Down Road) wasn’t fenced off from the allotments except in a rather piecemeal, ramshackle way. I walked along a few paths between plots in order to compare the native flora with that on my own site by Redland Green. All very familiar – Bristly Ox-tongue, Common Ragwort, Ribwort Plantain, Creeping Cinquefoil, Valerianella sp. (Lamb’s Lettuce), Prickly Sow Thistle, Scarlet Pimpernel and so on. In flower were Red Deadnettle, Shepherd’s Purse, Groundsel and Annual Mercury. Also present were lots of Lesser Swine Cress, Teasel seedlings and five plants of Water Figwort (away from water yet again).

PATH BY THE RAILWAY, NARROWAYS GATE TO ASHLEY HILL – A largish old apple tree on the railway side was still holding a number of fruit. A swathe of Winter Heliotrope (Petasites fragrans) on the railway embankment extends under the fence to edge sections of the path. It is an introduced member of the Daisy clan from south west Europe. The off-whitish, multi-petalled, dark-anthered flowers smell just like the commercial ornamental Cherry Pie (Heliotropium arborescens), which is in the Boraginaceae family.

MONTPELIER PROPER – I was on the look out for natives and naturalised introductions that might still be in flower. Thin fare though. There were quite a few flowers on a run of White Deadnettle along Fairlawn Rd. Smooth Sow Thistle and Petty Spurge in flower here. Other species in flower were: Herb Robert (Brook Hill), Corydalis lutea (York Rd.), Ivy-leaved Toadflax (Bath Buildings) and Common Ragwort (Montpelier Station).

Winter Heliotrope 16/12/07

PART VII. Montpelier to Newfoundland Rd/Newfoundland Way, Wade St, St. Paul’s Riverside Park and the Junction 3 roundabout of the M32. Observations made by Chris Rose on 11/11/2007, accompanied by Des Bowring.

MONTPELIER STATION AREA AND THE PARK - A single Common Mallow flower was open at the bottom of Station Rd. Two Field Maples were showing nice colour at the top of the railway embankment, just before the modern flats. Several species were in flower in the fenced area opposite the Royal Mail office, including Black Medick and Hogweed. Being a fan of heathland, I was pleased to see that the Gorse - that’s behind the wall over the road from the old station building – was in bloom and covered in buds. Wine and tea can be made from the flowers. In the park the composites Dandelion, Nipplewort, Smooth Sow Thistle and Daisy were in flower. There were red fruits on the Stinking Iris, a planted native here. Ground Ivy and Lesser Swine Cress were noted on Ashley Rd., by the end of Winkworth Place.

NEWFOUNDLAND ROAD AREA - I wanted to check on the previously unidentified Chenopodiums, plus show Des some of the ‘unusual’ denizens of the vicinity. The poppy, Papaver rhoeas, was still in flower near the sports centre, with several more unopened buds to come. Tall Melilot, Ox-eye Daisy and Oxford Ragwort were still flowering towards the Spar/garage. Evident weeding of the shrub beds had removed the Celery-leaved Crowfoot, though a rosette of one was found in the (now mown) grass outside ‘Staples’. For fans of ‘extreme botany’ who can’t get themselves on the end of a rope dangling into the Avon Gorge, an urban substitute is dodging the traffic to investigate the flora of the large Newfoundland Street traffic island to the Bond Street side of Houlton Steet. Des didn’t fancy risking it, but I went and had a look. There’s a lot of stuff on there in amongst the sown North American Rudbeckias, which were flowering en masse. I’ve yet to identify several specimens, including a short, but relatively wide-leaved plant which had quite big, solitary, Stitchwort-like flowers at the shoot tips. I guess it could be a contaminant in the sown seed mix. There were quite a few Californian Poppy seedlings, a couple of White Campions in flower and an Erodium was spotted.

WADE STREET - Des took some photos of the Shaggy Soldier (Galinsoga quadriradiata) at the Lawford's Gate end. A single bloom of Black Knapweed was open in the grounds of 'Logos House', whilst the patch of Ladies Bedstraw on the Little George Street side was still in flower.

ST. PAUL’S RIVERSIDE PARK/M32 ROUNDABOUT – New territory since I hadn’t previously got beyond the Peel Street pedestrian bridge over the Frome. Proceeding further towards Easton Way, there are dilapidated and fenced-off sports courts to the left. Between these and the riverside path is a grassy bank. A single plant of a Fumitory species (not in bloom) was spotted, along with a Fennel. The Legumes Black Medick, Lesser Trefoil, Tall Melilot and Red Clover were in flower here, along with several clumps of Spotted Medick that were not. Several Wild Carrot were in flower. A gravelly strip at the top near the fence hosted probable Biting Stonecrop (Sedum acre - also seen in the ‘gutter’ of a bridge over the M32), but I forgot to check for the peppery taste. There were several plants of Thyme-leaved Speedwell in this zone, including one with a few of its small white, violet-veined flowers open, and some stunted Hemp Agrimony. A Geranium rotundifolium was in flower over the tunnel under Easton Way. My eye was caught by a Bird’s-foot Trefoil cascading over the curved retaining wall to the right of the St. Paul’s/St. Agnes exit from the centre of the M32’s Junction 3 roundabout. That led to the discovery of a small colony of Sheep’s Sorrel (Rumex acetosella) in this sloping ‘bed’, of interest because it’s Flora of the Bristol Region status is ‘Uncommon’, with only a couple of records from the central Bristol area. It is a plant indicative of poor acids soils.

Shaggy Soldier

Buck's Horn Plantain



Hey, there's even a mention of Monty ..... Observations made by Chris Rose on 22/10/2007. INCLUDES: * Two rarities and a Kingfisher. * Summer lingers in the city. * A field of carrots. TWO RARITIES TO START WITH - CATCH THEM (IN FLOWER) WHILE YOU CAN. - White Melilot (Melilotus alba). A plant just about in flower (more spikes on the way) at the edge of a demolition site on Bragg's Lane, just past Gloucester Lane as one heads towards Trinity Rd. Surviving the clearance work by dint of being near the pavement and right under the security fencing. Relatively serrated leaflet margins. Flora of Bristol Region has 14 x 1km sq. records in Bristol, 3 in the 'central' area. It describes the species as a 'rare' Melilot for the region. - Shaggy Soldier (Galinsoga quadriradiata). An annual. Two plants in flower on the pavement side of a fenced car-parking area at the Lawford's Gate end of Wade St., next to a mini-mart type shop. No more seen despite closely examining the surrounding streets. Small white composite flowers with a yellow eye and five (Rose, 'The Wild Flower Key', says usually 4) jagged-looking (3-lobed) white ray-florets. Hairy stems. A South American alien, more common in the SE. (Loads in raised beds outside Euston station, London. I also saw some in a tatty car park near Liverpool Lime Street station last month). FoBR 'rare' - 8 records for Avon as a whole, of which 3 were in Bristol.

KINGFISHER Not the Indian sort in a bottle, but the flying kind with blue feathers. Ornithology I know. Heresy ...... Three views of the species flashing by on the River Frome. First sighting very near Wade St. where the covering over of the river begins (boo, hiss) and two more on the way towards St. Paul's Riverside Park. ANOTHER ERODIUM EXTRAVAGANZA Some 50+ plants of Common Stork's-bill (Erodium cicutarium) on bare patches of earth, and in very short turf, around a manhole cover to the right of the entrance to the City Council's Scientific Services department on Redcross St. Some specimens growing between the raised setts around the base of the building. FoBR 'uncommon' (concentrated in the west of the region near the coast). DEMOLITION DISAPPOINTMENT Gloucester Lane: two rough car parks and a demolition site with a huge pile of spoil and rubble were less interesting than I'd hoped. Quite a lot of Hemp Agrimony still in flower. Also Charlock in flower. Des Bowring's favourite - Lesser Swine Cress - was present. Mugwort. A Colt's-foot. A Large-flowered Evening Primrose in flower. Lots of Mayweed's white daisy flowers. Several Oxford Ragworts, including some in flower, along the edge of the demolition site by the pavement. Also the dead flower stem of a Lesser Burdock. Wade Street down to Little Ann Street - a plant of Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) on another demolition site. Rose-bay Willowherb still in flower. In Little Ann Street, opposite the 'Swan With Two Necks' pub, was a great display of late Clematis vitalba flower, cascading over a derelict shed. SUMMER LINGERS IN THE CITY A 'meadow' around 'Logos House' was flowering away as if it was still mid-summer. My eye was first caught by a patch of Ladies Bedstraw in bloom on the Little George Street side, along with flowering Red Clover and some Ground Ivy. 'Was I alright?' asked a concerned employee. Once again taking a close interest in plants - other than in a garden or the countryside - is seen as symptomatic of some deep-seated behavioural problem ........ Ho hum. Moving along and back round into Wade Street were Black Medick and White Clover in flower, also couple of Black Knapweed (a single finished bud). The mixture of plants, including a Weld in flower, Hedge Mustard in flower, Mayweeds, Oxford Ragwort, Common Ragwort, Yarrow and Docks suggests that either someone sowed a 'meadow' on imported weedy soil, or there was a diverse seed bank in such soil, or the whole lot is 'native' to the site.

BANKS OF THE RIVER FROME A possible patch of Fool's Watercress at the foot of the riverside wall on Wellington St., near the Wade St. bridge. Too far below and I didn't have binoculars to be sure. Himalayan Balsam in flower. One of the two Reedmace species was in the river by St. Paul's Riverside Park. Again canalisation of the river made the plant inaccessible for full identification ....... Central Bristol Rivers Liberation Front anyone? A FIELD OF CARROTS Several Wild Carrot (Daucus carota) heads spotted standing tall in rough herbage just by the pedestrian bridge over the river in St. Paul's Riverside Park. A couple were still in flower. Hundreds of seedlings in the closely mown turf nearby. By the riverside path a possible Barbarea sp. (Winter Cress/American Winter Cress) on the corner, nearest the bridge, of this taller vegetation. Very glossy leaves. A Hypericum perforatum in flower here. Nice view of the moon over the evening-sun-lit flats in the distance. ST. ANDREWS ROAD PARK AND ROYAL MAIL, MONTPELIER Germander Speedwell, Thyme-leaved Speedwell, Creeping Buttercup, Self Heal and Hoary Plantain were noted in the park. The 'high and dry' Brooklime, under the Pyracantha opposite the Royal Mail Office, is now back in fine fettle following some rain and cooler weather.

Pt. 5. MORE NOT FAR FROM MONTY BOTANY. Chris Rose. Observations made on 29/9/07.

THE FRINGES OF BROADMEAD * Woody Nightshade frequent near Broadmead - in raised shrub bed opposite St. James Barton roundabout, by an office in York St. and several on Pembroke St. behind the Spectrum building. * Self Heal and Thyme-leaved Speedwell in the grass, Portland Square. * Nice patch of Liverwort sp. and Germander Speedwell behind the church on Portland Sq., now used by Circomedia. Eighteen inch Virginia Creeper seedling at foot of gatepost. * Petasites sp., and several Feverfew (one in flower) in St. Paul's park. NEWFOUNDLAND WAY * Ranunculus sceleratus (Celery-leaved Crowfoot) - a 4 inch tall plant noticed in flower on the edge of the grass bank outside the public entrance to the 'Staples' office supplies shop. A plant of wet places, this is familiar species from my youth when I grew it by a garden pond. Several more were then found on the traffic island on Newfoundland Way (opposite 'Jameson's Events' and 'Sauce') in beds of Viburnum davidii and roses. One of these was in flower at nearer its normal height. * Several Chenopodium/Orache-like plants in this area, yet to be identified, though the most frequent and most robust is possibly Maple-Leaved Goosefoot. * Lots of species in the grass bank running past 'Staples' including possible Wild Radish, Spear Thistle, Mugwort, Mayweeds, Black Nightshade, Redshank, White Clover, Common Mallow, Lesser Swine Cress and a possible White Campion seedling. All of which could look good if it wasn't mown down ..... Further along, right by the pavement edge, and opposite 'Daily Grind', was a single Erodium which, because of the pointed stipules, I'm saying is E. cicutarium.

NEWFOUNDLAND ROAD Newfoundland Road diverges from Newfoundland Way (leading to the M32) outside the garage with a Spar shop. At first there's a scraggy semi-bare divide between the two, widening from a narrow point, and with a metal fence down the middle of it. Plants of note at the garage end, on the Newfoundland Rd. side of the fence were: - Oxford Ragwort in flower - Several Buck's-horn Plaintain (Plantago coronopus), one in flower. This is a plant of the coast or sandy/gravelly ground inland. - 2 Opium Poppies - 1 Common Bird's-foot Trefoil (not in flower) - 1 Common Fumitory (carrying a few spires of the pinkish-red flowers with a very dark tip) On both sides of the fence and stretching further up the road were about 8 Melilotus altissima carrying their yellow flowers. Three Black Bindweed (Polygonum convolvulus) were seen, not something I've noted around Bristol before, though I've seen it on sandy soil in South East London. Other plants along here were an Ox-eye daisy - filthy from traffic fumes, Clematis vitalba in flower and Black Medick. On the Newfoundland Way side of the fence was a succession of Geranium x oxonianum (two of which were in flower) in the grass. This is a robust, evergreen and fertile hybrid of the garden introductions G. endressii and G. versicolor. Past Dove Lane (where the ground becomes properly vegetated) were 3 Papaver rhoeas in flower, with several more unopened buds to come. A Fool's Parsley (Aethusa cynapium) was in flower at a gap in the metal fence, just past the St. Paul's Community Sports Centre. This has conspicuous narrow bracteoles hanging down below the partial umbels. BYRON ST. - a Rosebay Willowherb still in flower. Derelict garage LOWER ASHLEY RD. - an evergreen pea, Lathyrus latifolius, was in flower. Park at junction of GROSVENOR RD./ASHLEY RD. - the remains of one plant of Hairy Tare still present. The Tufted Vetch in garden of 104 Ashley Rd. mown down and gone.

WILDER ST. - lots of Pellitory-of-the-wall in a rough and ready 'car park'. THOMAS ST. - an Erodium spotted growing between the paving stones of the pavement. DOVE ST. SOUTH - by now too dark to check a diagnostic feature of the Erodiums previously noted outside the flats. Potential awkwardness was avoided when the two policemen, who suddenly appeared on the scene just as I was getting up from picking a piece for later examination, were satisfied with a simple 'hello'. Back home under a light, the stipules were clearly pointed, so again I'd say this is E. cicutarium (Common Stork's-bill - though not common in central Bristol). The nice 'meadow' by Armada House, described in a previous instalment, now mown down. Check it out next year!


On 11th September 2007 I had to go down to Broadmead, a place I try to avoid like the plague! Passing Montpelier on the way down Stokes Croft, Erigeron karvinskianus was noted in cracks in the paving slabs outside the derelict ' New Court' opposite the end of Jamaica Street, as well as in the face of the wall by the pavement. This South American escape from garden cultivation is a spreading plant with narrow leaves and narrow-rayed daisy-like flowers. I have seen it in three other Bristol locations now, and believe it has the potential to become a more common casual in the more urban parts of the city. Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris), Common Ragwort, Canadian Fleabane and Ivy-leaved Toadflax were seen in Moon Street and around the Full Moon pub as I approached the less wildlife-friendly St. James Barton roundabout and surrounding area.

On the way back I checked the grounds of St. James' church. Nothing hugely exciting spotted, but I'll mention the Ground Ivy, Enchanter's Nightshade and Self Heal in the grassy areas, and the young Peach tree growing up by one of the bench seats here, undoubtedly from a stone discarded out of someone's lunchbox. There's a nice patch of the yellow-variegated Ginger Mint (Mentha x gentilis) growing between the paving slabs in the separately fenced-off immediate surroundings of the church building itself. There's a stretch of old wall running round from Lower Maudlin Street into Whitson St. (where the bus station was), with a good show of ferns in it - Asplenium ruta-muraria being frequent in the part facing the former, and Asplenium trichomanes prevalent in the part facing the latter. There were one or two small Hart's Tongue ferns also. Wall Lettuce was noted in Lower Maudlin Street.

The grass bank on Dighton Street between Marlborough Street and Montague Hill South yielded, amongst other things, Germander Speedwell (often having noticeably 'woolly' upper pairs of yet-to-fully-open leaflets and, as a key feature, two prominent bands of hairs at 180 degrees to each other down either side of the stem). There were two plants of Water Figwort (Scrophularia aquatica) growing between the partially exposed upper roots of a cherry tree here, not the first time I've found the species in unexpected places away from water. The possible remains of a flowering stem had been chopped off by the usual over-zealous mowing regime. A scrappy corner at the top of Montague Hill South was home to a single plant of Vervain, plus Red Valerian, Clematis vitalba, Buddleia and various common 'weeds'. The park in King Square contained nothing of interest. As I headed back towards Monty proper via Nine Tree hill, the 'jackpot' was hit on Dove Street South. The first stretch of grass below the flats, running from the Llewellin's Gears premises to opposite Gay Street, had an estimated 30+ Erodium near the pavement at its King Square end. It may be Common Stork's-bill (Erodium cicutarium), but looked more robust with leaflets less finely divided than in the plants I'm used to seeing on the (poorer) sandy soils of South East London. I will try and get back down to check another diagnostic character (I wasn't carrying my ID book at the time ....). There are only a handful of records of E. cicutarium in the Flora of Bristol Region from within the city boundary, and even less of E. moschatum. I can't tell from the small scale of the maps whether this is likely to be a new location or not. I'd be grateful if anyone who has spotted these plants before and got a positive ID would contact me at . Erodium is in a family in which I'm particularly interested (the Geraniaceae) along with the genera Geranium, Perlargonium, Monsonia and Sarcocaulon.

The next stretch of grass contained a couple of nice erect patches of Field Madder (Sherardia arvensis) in flower. As Dove Street South becomes Armada Place (the transition point being Thomas Street) the grassed zone below the flats begins to rise significantly above the height of the roadway, and is held back by an increasingly high wall. It curves away to run next to one side of Armada House. Up here you will find a veritable meadow containing Red Clover, White Clover, Ribwort Plantain, Yarrow, Field Madder and, most interestingly, several Geranium pyrenaicum (one plant in flower) plus some other legumes, namely Bird's-foot Trefoil and Meadow Vetchling (neither of which were in flower). There was no sign of recent mowing, but once again, the impression was of an area that would benefit from a lighter touch in this regard. A composit with a particularly hairy involucre prompted me to take a small amount of material away for later identification, as it looked like it might be distinctive enough for even my limited botanical talent to be able to separate it out from similar species. It turned out to be Rough Hawkbit (Leontodon hispidus), frequent in southern England. I was initially thrown by the fact that Francis Rose ('The Wild Flower Key') says that this plant is 'very hairy throughout, hairs forked (use hand lens)'. I could only see one or two apparently fork-tipped hairs on the flower stem and involucre, and wondered whether the forked tips alluded to might have closed up due to wilting. In fact the forked hairs are only revealed en-masse by taking a hand lens to the leaves. Next stop was the park on St. Andrews Road, back over in the Monty 'hood proper, where I wanted to check the ID of the yellow-flowered Melilot Des Bowring and I had failed to get an absolute fix on a couple of weeks ago. The developing fruits were not yet ripe, but it was now possible to tell from the persistent styles at their tips that this was Tall Melilot (Melilotus altissima) which is probably more common in SE England, though is reputedly a plant favouring heavier soils. A check on Montpelier Station revealed a rather mildewed Lamb's Lettuce species (Valerianella) in flower on the walled path up to the footbridge, and enabled names to be put to the various Willowherbs previously observed - namely Hoary Willowherb, Broad-leaved Willowherb and probable Square-Stalked Willowherb - along the back of the operational platform. A patch of Enchanter's Nightshade was noted. A couple of other additions made to the identified flora here were Lesser Trefoil (Trifolium dubium) and a Holm Oak seedling. The following weekend I was at a conference in Liverpool. Given my comments here, and in previous reports, about the cult of over-tidiness, I would note that I was struck - on bus rides into the city centre from the Greenbank/Wavertree direction - by the number of semi-natural clusters of trees with an uncut ground flora. These were found well down into town, and often abutted roads/pavements. There was little sign of vandalism or fly-tipping. Not far from Lime Street station was a rough verge alive with (amongs other species) Red Clover, masses of White Melilot, Tall Melilot, Black Medick, some Poppies, a possible Common Bistort (a north of England plant) and a rather stunted Corn Marigold (which might suggest that a seed mixture had been sown at some point). Not far away some decidedly scraggy car parks were fringed by things like Hemp Agrimony, thistles, Fool's Parsley and swathes of Tufted Vetch (which Rose says is 'common', but I've only seen three times so far - twice in Bristol). Whether this is the result of an enlightened policy which Bristol would do well to follow - the National Wildflower Centre is based in the Liverpool area - or financial stringency, one can only hope that 'City of Culture' status and 'regeneration' initiatives do not sweep these features away beneath a sea of modernistic, but ultimately lifeless, concrete and glass constructions.

MONTY BOTANY (3): THE EMPIRE EXPANDS. Chris Rose with Des Bowring.

I was joined on today's (28th August) peregrination by the man, Des from Monty, himself. It was the first time we'd seen each other for more than 15 years. We wondered where the intervening time had gone, but felt it best not to dwell on this subject for more than thirty seconds. Setting out from Montpelier station, the objective was to check out the eastern side of the patch towards Mina Road, and then head up to Narroways. OK, that's St. Werburgh's territory, but more on this anon. First off we had a quick run over some of the previous 'spots' reported in this column - the Brooklime opposite the Royal Mail Office (still there, but no longer in flower and wilting a bit), various Sun Spurge locations, the small wall-dwelling ferns and Hart's Tongues and then the Greater Celandine in Cobourg Road. The Albany Community Arts Centre had apparently carried out it's threat of 'tidying up' the rough patch of ground next door by cutting all the vegetation right down. A pointless exercise that won't harm what's there, but we couldn't find the Field Madder. A new record from the grass strip between Tudor Rd. and the M32 was a single plant of Common Sorrel (Rumex acetosa). SPYMASTER GENERAL Then it was on into uncharted territory. At the end of Conduit Road we spotted a largish dragonfly, which conveniently settled on a bay windowsill. Unsurprisingly, the interest of the locals was aroused by the fact that we appeared to be using binoculars to look into someone's window from 10 feet away. An explanation of Des's wildlife blog credentials got us off the hook, whilst the obliging insect was clearly a Migrant Hawker. A larger crowd gathered when the natives spotted us behaving strangely in the tiny St. Andrews Park. Amongst the usual sorts of plants for this kind of habitat were Slender Speedwell (Veronica filiformis) and Swine Cress (Coronopus squamatus). Other 'new' records in the vicinity were Oxford Ragwort along Morley Street, and Hoary Willowherb on Magdalene Place - where there was also some Red Clover in flower.

NOSEY- (CAR)PARKERS There's some demolition and rebuilding going on along Sevier Street opposite Ashley Parade. A large heap of earth and rubble here was sporting the most lush display of (numerous) Lesser Swine Cress (Coronopus didymus) I've ever seen, some having red-purple tinged fruits. Behind the heap was a Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) in flower. A temporary wire mesh fence protected the drop down to the ground level, through which we could see a rather luxuriant Black Nightshade up against the real wall of an adjoining building, along with some Japanese Knotweed. In the grass verge a little further along were a few Himalayan Balsam in flower. Next we checked out a scrappy bit of vegetated ground by the car park on Ashley Parade. This adjoins 'Artrageous' and a carpet warehouse. Des said some orchids had appeared there a couple of years ago. No sign now, but a quick (and not quite comprehensive) list of 21 native/escaped species was recorded amongst the few planted 'exotics' which were struggling to survive. The most noteworthy in our great 'urban flora' scheme of things were: Lesser Burdock, several large-leaved and strongly-marked specimens of Spotted Medick, Black Horehound (Ballota nigra), Evergreen Alkanet, Ox-eye Daisy (in flower), three Feverfew, one Common Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) in flower, and one Weld. Also one each of Opium Poppy and Long-headed Poppy (most likely Papaver dubium and not P. lecoqii), both deceased and identified from the seed pods. Finally, an unidentified Mentha, which had terminal clusters of flowers in Water Mint fashion but, as a sometime collector of cultivated Mint varieties, smelt to me more like the 'Eau de Cologne' Mint of gardens. Mint are prone to hybridising, so I took a small cutting to root and grow on for further analysis ...... CHURCH FIELD AND NARROWAYS This area has been thoroughly surveyed by Rupert Higgins, so we won't get into too much detail here. In flower were Scabious, Greater Knapweed, Black Knapweed, Bird's-foot Trefoil and Meadow Vetchling to name but a few. Also, entirely new to me, the scarce Corky-fruited Water Dropwort which Des (a Narroways Trustee) was able to point out on Church Field. Along Stoney Path (heading towards Ashley Hill) was (judging from the flavour of the fruits) an old cultivated Plum variety hidden amongst the Ash and other trees, and some Bush Vetch in flower. SWINE(CRESS) FEVER AND A FRUITY FINISH Back in Monty proper, Des was interested in being shown the patch of Lesser Swine Cress in Montpelier Park. When I spotted a plant of Swine Cress skulking unobtrusively under the fencing round the play area, he became disconcertingly ecstatic about the fact that both species had now been found there. I thought it wise to pretty quickly switch the topic of conversation to beer. But not before a flowering plant of either Ribbed or Tall Melilot had been examined closely without us being able to conclusively sort out which it was (easiest to do from the ripe fruits, of which there were, as yet, none) and a small Gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa) had been noted at the base of the curved rear wall leading down to the adjacent hard court. My own route out of the area took me up Cheltenham Road, with two more small Gooseberry plants being seen under the advertising hoardings at the foot of Station Road. PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES Embolded by the wealth of botanical delights not far beyond the realms of Monty proper, Des is now considering expanding the geographical scope of his wildlife blog into these neighbouring areas. Remember: you read it here first. Whether his 'land-grab' will extend halfway up Cranbrook Road remains to be seen. But in that spirit of adventure and exploration, I note here that on the way down to Monty I was able to identify as Gipsywort (Lycopus europaeus) a slightly unusual-leaved plant that I'd first spotted a few weeks ago growing out of the very tall wall below nos. 105 and 107. Now in flower, one wonders what this streamside species is doing two feet up a presumably dry wall, with two smaller specimens at the base of it. Except that I assume the 'remains' of the Cran Brook (which must be fed in part by the stream through my allotment site on Metford Rd.,) are buried somewhere behind the houses on the other side of the road ......... From such unexpected finds does the dedicated (or should that be addicted) urban botanist get his or her kicks.


If the media are to be believed everyone - business included - is going green. Unfortunately the cult of over-zealous vegetation clearance, in pursuit of 'tidy' sterility, has hit the fenced-off patch of land opposite the Royal Mail Office on Station Road. An outfit called 'South and West Highway Trenching' (that figures) has obliterated the Poppies and everything else. Why? Just so they can dump a few bits of hardware around the margins of the site as far as I can see. Very enlightened. Outside the fence, and to the right of the gate, is a lone Pyracantha. There were two species of Umbellifers here. To the left, several plants of Stone Parsley (Sison amomum) were to be found. To the right, and growing through the shrub, were Wild Carrot (Daucus carota) with its characteristic divided bracts beneath the head of flowers. More unusually, there was a patch of flowering Brooklime (Veronica beccabunga), a waterside plant, growing underneath the Pyracantha, no doubt sustained by the frequent rainfall of late. At the bottom of the slope off the railway footbridge, where it joins the path to St. Andrews Road, were a couple of plants of Sun Spurge (Euphorbia helioscopia). TARE-AWAYS A prominent species, flowering along Ashley Rd from the City Road junction down towards the Malcolm X centre, was Redshank (Polygonum persicaria), with its spear-shaped, black-blotched leaves. There's a small patch of fenced grass near this junction, and by the path into Winkworth Place. Here a solitary Ox-eye Daisy was flowering. Walking down the path leads one to a parking area on the right, surrounded by grassed area, in which some Red Clover was to be found. Plus a couple of rather short plants of Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria), with flower spikes on the way. They may or may not get to do their stuff before the mower next cuts them down! In the front garden of 104 Ashley Road was a rather bushy 3-foot-plus tall Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca), with its long racemes of purple-blue flowers. A scrambling plant, it was here supported by a bunch of Bristly Ox-Tongues. Turning to the park at the junction of Ashley Road and Grosvenor Road, there was, by the gate onto the latter, and opposite the shops, a patch of the related Hairy Tare (Vicia hirsuta), with small off-white flowers and rather larger, hairy, two-seeded seed pods. This was the first time I've recorded this species. Here it was growing out of a woodchip-mulched bed of shrubs. Later in the day I was to find it on a re-instated allotment terrace in Redland, where a drainage pipe was recently buried underground. Perhaps the City Council, or one of its contractors, has a pile of topsoil/mulching material full of Hairy Tare seeds ....... Also growing out of the mulch on the Grosvenor Road side were a couple of nice Scarlet Pimpernel in flower, and at the apex of the park, some Lesser Swine Cress. GOODBYE TO THE CAR ......... On to Lower Ashley Road. OK they're not native, but it's worth noting the three 'living fossil' Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) trees on the left as one heads towards the M32. Thought to have been extinct for around 26 million years, the species was 'rediscovered' in China in 1941. It is one of the few deciduous conifers. The specimen outside 'Precious Cuisine' has been badly disfigured by the removal of lower branches, but the two outside the derelict garage site are still clothed to the ground. Looking through the fencing surrounding the former garage area, one can see a mixture of natives, alien weeds and planted shrubs. I noted, amongst others, heads of an onion species (about Allium sphaerocephalon size), a pink garden Oxalis in flower, Escallonia, Pyracantha, a Rosa rugosa in flower, Canadian Fleabane, Teasels, Ground Elder, Creeping Thistles, Hemp Agrimony and two large Weld. In the mown grass area on the other side of the road, towards the M32 slip road and past Tudor Road, was a mixture of grassland plants and casual weeds, including: Self Heal, Veronica persica, Scented Mayweed, Pineapple Mayweed, Ground Ivy, Black Medick, Ribwort and Rat's-Tail Plantains, Creeping Cinquefoil, Silverweed, Creeping Buttercup, Meadow Buttercup (grass cut too low to allow flowering) and Geranium dissectum. BACK TO THE RAILWAY The delicate-looking Enchanter's Nightshade (which can be a nuisance in the garden) was spotted here and there, including the front garden of 38 Ashley Hill. In the 'unplanted' verge, past the railway footbridge on Fairlawn Road, and leading to Richmond Avenue, was a flowering Verbena bonariensis (currently a trendy garden plant). Also a Mallow that looked like Musk Mallow, but might be a related garden ornamental, and more Wild Carrot. There's a nice specimen of the less-often-seen ornamental Virginia Creeper relative coming over a garden wall here - Parthenocissus henryana, with dark, pale-veined leaves. Finally, I stumbled across a good show of Ladies Bedstraw in flower in a front garden in St. Andrews Road (which I see Des Bowring had previously been flagged up in his Diary entry of 8th July), along with some Self Heal.


15 June 2007 * Patch of rough ground opposite RM office - if you look through the right gap in the vegetation along the tall fencing you can see Papaver rhoeas in flower. * Montpelier station - the three small wall-dwelling ferns found around Bristol can all be seen in the wall next to the footbridge steps up from the used patform, namely Asplenium trichomanes and A. ruta-muraria. Also Ceterach officinalis. If you turn right at the top there is a stretch round the corner with A. t and A r-m, then the path turns right and there is a lot of (large) Ceterach plus A. r-m, presumably reflecting microclimatic differences. As for the other wall-dwelling fern, Hart's Tongue, there's a small one at the bottom of Station Rd, and several largish by steps down to the basement of 17 Coburg Rd. * Montpelier Station, used platform. Proving that binoculars can be useful for plant-spotting, I too noted the Moth Mullein (which this evening I find you've already mentioned in one of your recent diary postings) towards the tunnel. 3 plants not too far along disused section, but around 30 up by the tunnel mouth. I too spotted a (rather taller, more luxuriant-looking) Verbasacum in the verge on Fairlawn Rd, opposite the school. Now your diary refers to a Verbascum on Fairlawn as being V. nigrum. How sure are you about this? I didn't go over it with a fine tooth-comb, but I 'instinctively' clocked it as V. blattaria, which can certainly get to 3 or 4 feet tall, as the one on my allotment site did last year. I note that at the time of publication of the Flora of the BR there were only 13 records of V. blattaria. The maps there are rather small to be sure, but these might be new 2K square location records. * Montpelier Station, used platform. There were 4 Cinnabar Moth caterpillars feeding on the ragwort at end of the used section by the 'don't cross line' sign. * Montpelier Station - Geranium rotundifolium in ballast between the rails. * Monpelier Park. Largish patch of Lesser Swine Cress (Coronopus didymus) in circular bed, back right, where the planted Iris foetidissima are. This plant, whose leaves smell strongly of cress when crushed, can be found here and there in waste places, but there's rather a lot of it here. Also in park a small amount of Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica), Common Vetch and some Black Medick. * Lower Cheltenham Rd play area - attractive mingling of White Clover and Doves-foot Cranesbill (Geranium molle) flowers in grass. * Shaftesbury Av., rough patch of ground by Albany Community Arts Centre (seems to have had a house on it at one point) - Spotted Medick (Medicago arabica), though not very obvious amongst clover, and spots not very prominent due to bad dose of rust, plus Field Madder (Sherardia arvensis) nicely in flower. These species are more usually associated with well-drained soils and the SE of England. Woman from Arts Centre obviously thought I was behaving suspiciously, and when I told her what I was doing she said perhaps they ought to 'tidy' the area up. Aaaaaaarghhh. As Mr. Monpelier Wildlife you'd better get down there fast and prevent such potential desecration ....... * 51 Coburg Rd - Greater Celandine in flower in pot by front gate. This is probably in the vicinity of where I vaguely remember seeing the species on a wall several years ago, long before I knew what it was. * Fairlawn Rd, strip of ground between pathway and railway fence - quite a lot of planted stuff incl. Phacelia tanacetofolia and Nasturtiums, but also, in one section, loads more Sun Spurge (Euphorbia helioscopia) in one place than I've ever seen before. Tends to look a bit more substantial than Petty Spurge. A key difference is the toothed margins to upper leaves.

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