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Adder’s Tongue Spearwort

Ranunculus ophioglossifolius

How to spot it

Adder’s Tongue Spearwort is a pretty plant with small, bright yellow buttercup-like flowers. The leaves are pointed oval, quite unlike ordinary buttercup leaves. When submerged, the pale greenish-yellow leaves float to the surface like small water-lily leaves.

Where to spot it

Adder’s Tongue Spearwort can be found in wet or marshy places, often round the edges of field ponds. It prospers at the edge of cattle ponds in the churned-up mud. It’s a sensitive plant, requiring low competition, low water levels in summer, and plenty of rain in early winter.

Adder’s Tongue Spearwort is now found at only two sites in Gloucestershire, having previously grown in several parts of southern England. With human intervention, a sizeable population of plants flower and fruit every year.

How’s it doing?

Adder’s Tongue Spearwort is classified as Vulnerable and protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, perhaps unsurprising given its exceedingly picky requirements.

It is mainly threatened by loss of grazing on pastures and commons, loss of muddy ponds, or overgrazing and excessive trampling too early in the year. Climate change with drier winters also causes drying out of small ponds. Without a mild, frost-free Autumn and enough rain to keep the ground moist for seedlings to develop, they can be uprooted by birds or killed by trampling livestock.

Things you might not know

  • The Latin name Ranunculus means ‘froglike’, referring to the plant’s preference for aquatic habitats.
  • The specific part of the scientific name, ophioglossifolius refers to the shape of the leaves that resemble the small fern Ophioglossum.
  • Adder’s Tongue Spearwort is at the northern edge of its range in Britain.
  • The two sites where it can be found in Gloucestershire are Badgeworth (hence its alternative name: the Badgeworth Buttercup) and Inglestone Common.

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A close up photograph of Sweet Vernal Grass

Sweet Vernal Grass

Rough Meadow Grass
Rough Meadow Grass in the field

Rough Meadow Grass

Perennial Rye Grass
Perennial Rye grass pictured at Cannon Hill Park

Perennial Rye Grass

Meadow Waxcap

Hygrocybe pratensis

Apricot mushroom with flat top

How to identify:

CapApricot, slightly pitted and with powdery bloom sometimes visible with a hand lens, fading to buff with age. Convex, becoming flattened or slightly concave. 
Cap Diameter2.5 – 10 cm 
GillsPale whitish apricot 
StemsWhitish apricot, tapering to the base. 
FleshWhitish apricot 
SporesWhite

 

 

Where to find them?

Meadow Waxcaps (Hygrocybe pratensis) are a common find on cropped grassland and upland pastures. It appears from late August until December. Particularly in upland areas on acidic soil, the Meadow Waxcap is one of the few waxcap species that can tolerate small amounts of fertiliser being applied to its grassland habitat.

Did you know?

Two varieties of the Meadow Waxcap occur in BritainOne is apricot and the other is paler and almost white. It is a conspicuous and robust waxcap often persisting for several weeks. 

Don’t mistake it with…

Pink Ballerina

Other Species

Field Pansy

Field Pansy

Viola arvensis

Bramble

Bramble

Rubus fruticosus

White Campion

White Campion

Silene latifolia

Hazel Glove Fungus

Hypocreopsis rhododendri

Description

Found on Hazel trees in Britain, it is actually parasitic on the Glue Crust fungus Hymenochaete corrugate not living off the Hazel tree. It is not always possible to see the host crust fungus due to the presence of the Hazel Glove fungus and mosses.

Hazel Glove Fungus’ common name comes from the finger-like projections of the stromata (cushion-like plate of solid mycelium).  It is a type of ascomycete fungus. When mature, the central area of a stroma becomes pinkish brown, and individual perithecia (tiny black dots on the surface of these orange lobes which are sac openings which release the spores) become visible.

Distribution

Most likely to find in either west coast of Scotland in Atlantic Hazel woodland or temperate rainforest sites or in the south west of England, in North Devon and Cornwall, again in temperate rainforest habitat.

Habitat

Temperate rainforest, parasitic on Glue Crust fungus Hymenochaete corrugata on Hazel trees.

Did you know?

Hazel Glove fungus is an indicator of good air quality and temperate rainforest conditions, making it a flagship species for this threatened habitat.

Temperate rainforests are found in areas that are influenced by the sea, with high rainfall and humidity and damp climate. They are home to some intriguing and sometimes rare bryophytes, plants and fungi.

Plantlife are working in many ways to protect and restore this globally threatened habitat.

Other Species

Bramble

Bramble

Rubus fruticosus

Bastard Balm

Bastard Balm

Melittis melissophyllum

Ragged Robin

Ragged Robin

Silene flos-cuculi

Fibrous Waxcap

Hygrocybe intermedia 

Orange waxcap with pointed cap in grass

How to identify:

CapBright orange and can be quite large. Conical, flattening with age, umbonate. Texture quite unique, with coarse scales, like wet velvet. The edge is irregular and splits with age. 
Cap diameter 5-11 cm
GillsPale to bright yellow
StemSimilar colour to cap, but sometimes more yellow and white showing. Very fibrous also. 
FleshPale yellow
SporesWhite

 

Where to find them?

The Fibrous Waxcap (Hygrocybe intermedia) is an uncommon to occasional find in most of Britain and Ireland except in some parts of Wales, where it is more frequently recorded. Most often seen in unimproved grassland and, occasionally, in sand-dune systems. 

Did you know?

The bright right orange (with hints of yellow) cap, fades and sometimes blackening with age.

Don’t mistake it with..

The Blackening Waxcap

Other Species

Field Pansy

Field Pansy

Viola arvensis

Bramble

Bramble

Rubus fruticosus

White Campion

White Campion

Silene latifolia