I'm pleased to report back that that rarest of plants, Creeping Marshwort, is still hanging on on Port Meadow. Apart from the newly established back-up location nearby, Port Meadow is the only location in the country where Apium repens can still be found. Due to the fact that the flood waters were still about into the second half of the year, plant numbers were down this year but it was still found in a number of locations on the Meadow.
|We did find once plant actually in flower...
|...though mostly it was just trying to pick out the leaf shape in amongst some very similar look-alikes.
This plant is a very specialised one which is very fussy about habitat which is why it struggles. It's a pioneer plant, being the first to re-colonise mud banks after floods and relying on its low profile (it's "creeping" nature) to survive grazing by livestock which therefore will eat comparatively more of its competitor plants. So, it needs a flood meadow that is reasonably heavily grazed but apparently, variations in how much flooding there is and how much grazing there is can make big differences to its survival rate. Somehow though it clings on in the Meadow. Due to it's pioneering nature, it moves around a lot and so isn't always found in the same place. Still, with Judy Webb, the species guardian, to guide us we managed to find quite a few patches dotted about various key locations on the Meadow.
|The livestock took a keen interest in proceedings!
|Showing its runners nicely!