Plant survey results

Here’s the top 5 most interesting finds, as described by Dave Bishop.

Musk (Mimulus moschatus). This is an introduced plant from Western North America. It is now found over most of the British Isles – but I’ve not seen it in Manchester before.


Creeping Yellow-cress (Rorippa sylvestris). This a native member of the Cabbage Family (Brassicaceae). Curiously, I’ve only ever seen it in rose beds in parks (!) This one was no exception (is it something to do with where the Council gets its rose bed mulches, I wonder?).

Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine). This a native orchid species. It seems to be more common now than it was 25 years ago, when I first spotted it near Sale Water Park. Nevertheless, I was a bit surprised to find it in Alexandra Park! It tends to be the last orchid species of the year to flower (ours, though, were over and the plants were in fruit).

Few-flowered Garlic (Allium paradoxum). This is another introduced plant – this time from the Caucasus. I have only seen it once before (in Chorlton). I don’t think it’s particularly rare but it doesn’t seem to occur in many of the places where I regularly botanise.

Floating(?) Sweet-grass (Glyceria fluitans(?)). This is a native grass species of mud and shallow water. I’m fairly certain that it was G. fluitans but we found it quite late in the day and it needs more checking (there are other species of Glyceria that it could be). It’s presence suggests that the area over by Claremont Road, where we found it, may be much damper than I was expecting.

The full list of plants found will be posted shortly

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One Response to Plant survey results

  1. Joe Walsh says:

    Hi Dave,

    I’ve spent decades walking in parks and coming across what I though was a wild plant, looking it up and identifying it. I’d then show it to one of the proper trained horticulturalists only for them to casually say something like, “Yes, I planted those when we made a wildlife area in the woodland or a wildflower meadow in the park.” I’d bet my boots that Alan Bell or Steve Hales planted your helleborine in Alex. The council’s park’s staff have been doing this for a long time. What I came to realise was that, what to me was a rare wild flower, surprisingly growing in a park, was to them, just another plant that they were very familiar with and would use all the time. Most things eventually die out but just occasionally, something surprising hangs on for years. Other than obviously rudderal weeds, (almost) everything that you find growing in Alex will have been planted.

    Even seemingly wild places like Hough End Clough that look like they’ve never had any planting have had horticultural input.

    The first Jacob’s Ladder I ever saw was growing in a council house lawn, not on limestone in the Yorkshire Dales.

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