Botany Review - Spring 2015

Members of the Botany Section have been out monitoring the natural environment and finding garden escapes popping up in unusual places. In Mourier Valley in the woods Polystichum polyblepharum Japanese Tassel Fern has been found thriving in a shady area. There is much speculation as to how this fern from Japan could have arrived in this wooded area. There is a record of a Japanese Tassel Fern found growing a few hundred feet from its parent plant in a garden in Cornwall, spores blown by the wind had found a suitable growing area and formed a new plant. Even though a search of nearby gardens in Mourier Valley failed to find a similar fern the most likely explanation is that it is a garden escape.

We are used to seeing a profusion of daffodils growing along roadsides in spring, these are relics from former flower crops and are often cultivated daffodils. However a recent find on the sand dunes is Narcissus bulbocodium Hoop-petticoat Daffodil, a species daffodil from SW Europe. In the past garden waste used to be dumped on the sand dunes, thankfully a practice no longer allowed. Perhaps this explains the presence of the Hoop-petticoat Daffodil. Fortunately this daffodil seems a 'well-behaved' plant and it will not become invasive such as the Narcissus tazetta Bunch-flowered Daffodil to the north of Kempt Tower.

Hanging baskets and bedding plant schemes often contain Sutura cordata Bacopa a South African plant that is widely available in Garden Centres. Specimens of this small plant have been found growing on walls and roadsides around the island. They will need to be monitored to see if they remain as casuals as they are at the moment. Definitely not a casual is Vinca difformis Intermediate Periwinkle. We are used to seeing blue Periwinkles in hedgerows and roadsides, the Greater and Lesser Periwinkle, however Intermediate Periwinkle is a much more robust plant and it has formed large patches where it has escaped from gardens. The stems are up to two metres in length and the flowers are a very pale blue sometimes almost white.

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