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Friends of Studham Common

Nature Notes
By Pat and Charles

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:

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See August’s Nature Notes

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Aug 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010

Hop cones

June 2010

Harebells

Pyramidal Orchid

Robin’s pincushion

(Bedeguar gall)

Aug 2010