Interesting plants near Earley Gate

There are some interesting plants appearing around the old buildings near Earley Gate.

A particularly interesting piece of ground is the site of an old greenhouse adjoining the lawn to the north-east of the Agriculture Building. This looks like a messy, dry piece of waste ground but has some interesting plants:

Ranunculus parviflorus (Small-flowered buttercup) – A few plants have appeared and are in flower at the moment. There have been no previous records of this species at Whiteknights. It is usually a ruderal in sandy fields or on well-drained tracks.

Aquilegia vulgaris (Columbine) – One plant seen despite the fact that there is no sign of this flower in any of the (totally un-cared-for) flower beds near by. No previous records on campus.

Brassica napus (Oilseed rape) – This is a common weed in the countryside and on road verges. It hasn’t been recorded on campus for a number of years. One large plant is in flower against the wall.

Valerianella sp (Cornsalad) – One plant in flower. Four different species of Cornsalad occur in Berkshire but they can only be identified by looking at their fruits. None have been recorded on campus previously.

Viola arvensis (Field pansy) – a number of plants were in full flower in the dry soil. This species was not seen during the plant survey in 2009/10 by David Grice.

Also in this area of campus:

Centranthus ruber (Red valerian) – Two plants are growing on a pile of rubble within one of the locked compounds. This is another species that has never been recorded on campus.

Euphorbia lathyris (Caper spurge) – Plants have appeared around this area with a particularly splendid specimen in full flower at the end of one of the greenhouses. Unfortunately many of the plants seem to be wilting in the recent drier weather.

Geranium lucidum (Shining cranesbill) – Well established in one of the locked compounds. In full flower.



About Fay Newbery

PhD student in the Plant Pathology Research Group.
This entry was posted in Brassicaceae, Caprifoliaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Flowering Plants, Geraniaceae, Plants, Ranunculaceae, Violaceae. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Interesting plants near Earley Gate

  1. Thanks for the interesting list – Geranium lucidum used to grow in great profusion under the hedge around my back garden at Bridges Hall. The hall is now demolished so the hedge and geranium have now gone. I suspect there is a seedbank left. This is one of my favorite plant species due to the keeled sepals and the beautiful shiny leaves, I admit the flowers are not the most showy in the genus!

  2. Is the Ranunculus parviflorus still there? I’d like to get a photograph for the records.

  3. Fay Newbery says:

    There are two plants left. I think, judging from symptoms on plants in the area and nearby flower beds, that the groundsmen sprayed this area with herbicide a day or two before I found the Ranunculus parviflorus. Most plants were killed. Three remained but the area is now being used as a car park. Last count yesterday was two – both rather tatty (but it’s not a particularly beautiful species).

  4. Great! I am compiling the list of native/naturalised vascular plants seen during the UoR Bioblitz, I will circulate a list of common plants that I have not seen in case other have done so It would be good to get a pretty comprehensive 2013 benchmark!

  5. Fay Newbery says:

    The last two Ranunculus parviflorus plants succumbed to damage from car parking during this year’s heatwave in July. I don’t think any seeds were set.
    There were probably about 20 plants in all this year but unless there are seeds in the seed bank there will be no plants next year. The wasteground has been compacted by cars in part of the area where the species occurred and is now being colonised by a carpet of tightly packed moss so it may be impossible for R parviflorus seeds to germinate through this even if they are present.

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