Hidden Beauty

Hypericum elodesA good turn out last night for the botanical walk exploring the plants of the mires of the Commons. Eight people turned out and the group headed to Colaton Raleigh Common where we ventured into the mire valley and explored the botanical riches to be found there. Bog cotton, bog asphodel, sundew (two species), butterwort, bog pondweed, purple moor grass, sharp-flowered rush, deer sedge, tormetil, black bog rush, carnation sedge and Sphagnum papillosum were just some of the species encountered. Those who attended were particularly impressed by the abundance of the white beak-sedge (a notable species in Devon) which gives a beautiful pale green/white sheen to the vegetation, and by several small populations of marsh St. John's wort in pools. One of the vegetation types encounted (black bog rush mire) is relatively rare in the UK, and gives parts of the valley a characteristic silver/grey texture. One of the oddities found during the excursion was a clump of Sarracenia flava (yellow pitcher plant) a native of the Americas. This species was presumably planted by a member ofn the public. The population is small and stable and does not appear to be expanding but will be monitored closley in future.

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