After the earlier rains August ended in sunshine and this continued into the first
few days of this month. The plant highlight was the patch of delicate blue Harebells
on Middle Common that Pam Rumfitt showed us. Apparently Harebell was more abundant
on the Common in the past but few have been seen in recent years. The remaining
Hop plants on West Common beside Church Road are flowering well this year. The hops
used in brewing beer are cultivated varieties and it is difficult to distinguish
escapes from the native form. A photo of the Pyramidal Orchid that Carole Carrigan
found was forgotten last month so is included here.
Pam Rumfitt and Denis Davison joined us recently on West Common to search for plant
galls and leafmines. The most spectacular gall found was the bright red Robin’s
pincushion or Bedeguar gall on Rose. This is the plant’s response to a tiny gall
wasp laying an egg into its tissues. The one we saw was still quite small but larger
ones can be up to 10 cm in diameter. As the galls grow other insects take up residence
there and quite a complicated community develops. The name Robin’s pincushion is
said to refer to the folklore character Robin Goodfellow.
Sadly still more of the guards put up around the young gorse on East Common have
been stolen. This is not only a drain on the limited amount of money available to
look after the Common but also hampers efforts to regenerate the gorse.
The Chilterns, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - website:
Click on any small image to see an enlarged version