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This autumn, help us find the Britain’s most colourful and important fungi – waxcaps.
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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.
The bright right orange (with hints of yellow) cap, fades and sometimes blackening with age.
The Blackening Waxcap
This autumn, help Plantlife find Britain’s most colourful and important fungi – waxcaps.
‘O perilous fyr, that in the bedstraw bredeth’ – Chaucer, “The Merchant’s Tale”
Also known as ‘yellow bedstraw’, a frothy blossom with a wonderful honey scent.
A very distinctive plant with soft clusters of bright yellow flowers that smell of hay. The leaves are narrow, dark green and in whorls. It often creeps amongst grasses, sending up tall flowering stems in summer.
It is related to the plant cleavers, or ‘Sticky Willy’ Galium aparine.
Lady’s bedstraw can be found growing across the UK.
Meadows, road verges, cliff tops, hedges, dunes and other grassy places.
In the summer months, when in bloom and producing its scent.
Each plant has a small rosette of hairy ragged leaves that are dark green above but whitish and hairy underneath. They’re rounded at the tips and not toothed. The flowers are carried on long stems from the centre of these rosettes, up to 30cm tall. Each narrow and tightly packed bloom – one per stem – is like a dandelion but a paler lemon yellow in colour. They are followed by fluffy seed heads.
Found throughout the UK, but rarer in north-west Scotland.
Grows in dry grassy places like meadows, pastures, verges, lawns, heaths and dunes as well as waste ground.
When in flower, from May to August.
Mouse-ear Hawkweed at Brockles Field
It grows as a small tuft or matt with stems that are sometimes reddish in colour. These carry little hairy leaves in pairs, which give the plant its common name of mouse-ear. The stems rise up at their tips and carry a few white flowers at their tips. Each of these is 3-12 mm across and formed from five petals that are deeply notched at their tips, giving them a starry appearance. Often, only one or two flowers are open at a time.
Found throughout the UK.
A very wide range of grassy and disturbed habitats including meadows, pastures, verges, dunes and mountain grassland. Also in wetter places fens and mires and also on heathland. Survives mowing and therefore common lawns.
When in flower, from April to late summer.
Very common. Found on grassy areas across the UK.
In fact, it’s incredibly tough and resilient. It needs to be given the environment it grows in: the harebell is a wild flower of dry, open places from the bare slopes of hills to the windswept coast.
Hanging blue bells on slender stalks. Grows 15-40cm tall. Roundish leaves at base, very narrow linear leaves up thin stem. (Source: the National Plant Monitoring Scheme Species Identification Guide).
Dry, grassy places. From mountain tops to sand dunes. Quite catholic in its choice of habitats: as happy on chalk grasslands as on acid heaths, and under tall bracken as on exposed cliff tops. However, damp is one condition that harebells cannot tolerate.
July to September.
Generally stable although there have been some local declines at the edges of its range.
Harebell flowers in a meadow
Harebell, image by Cath Shellswell
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