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Dr M talks more rubbish: brownfield botany answers!

Did you have a go at Dr M’s brownfield botany quiz? If not try it out here and come back to check the answers below.

Post-industrial brownfield land is home to a host of colonising species both native and non-native species.  Amongst the non-natives are many non-invasive naturalised species as well as some more pernicious alien invasive species, several of which are listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act which means it is an offence to cause these to spread.

Below are the images as a reminder, click each for the Latin name and check the table below for Latin and common names and some ID and general notes. A few of the Schedule 9 species appear in the quiz as are indicated in the table below.


Species and common name Notes
1. Salix × sepulcralis (Weeping Willow) Classic water side weeper – hybrid willow
2. Lythrum salicaria (Purple-loosestrife) Only just starting to grow (early April) but recognisable from waterside location and last years inflorescences
3. Geranium robertianum (Herb-Robert) Palmate leaves with stipules (Geranium characters), reddish petiole and fetid smell (G robertianum characters)
4. Cotoneaster sp. (A Cotoneaster) Tricky group, this one awaiting ID! (Schedule 9 invasive)
5. Aphanes arvensis (Parsley-piert) Tiny little plant of dry sandy places, the stipules and toothed leaves indicate Rosaceae
6. Rumex cristatus (Greek Dock) Big introduced species of waste ground, leaves NOT cordate so easily separated from  R obtusifolius
7. Senecio inaequidens (Narrow-leaved Ragwort) Another introduced species, this one increasing in the London area, the linear leaves are unusual for Senecio
8. Geranium rotundifolium (Round-leaved Cranesbill) Petiole has abundant short glandular hairs which tells it apart from other similar annual Geranium
9. Hyacinthoides hispanica (Spanish Bluebell) The non-native garden variety, quite aggressive and much less delicate than the native bluebell, common on waste ground and wood edges due to dumping of garden waste
10. Impatiens glandulifera (Indian Balsam) Invasive plant, the large seedlings develop into a very tall often dominant waterside plant with attractive zygomorphic helmet-shaped flowers (Schedule 9 invasive)
11. Saxifraga tridactylites (Rue-leaved Saxifrage) Tiny plant of walls and rocky places, the leaves have three finger-like lobes hence the Latin specific epithet
12. Veronica hederifolia (Ivy-leaved Speedwell) Speedwells have 4 petals, but this one is tricking us with the lower petal divided into two making it look like 5 petals!
13. Heracleum mantegazzianum (Giant Hogweed) Big non-native Apiaceae with toxic sap which causes photodematitis and nasty blisters. The taxonomy has recently been revised (Schedule 9 invasive)
14. Centaurium erythraea (Common Centaury) Biennial in the Gentianaceae, opposite leaves with characteristic prominent midrib, just as at home on waste ground as it is in calcareous grassland and other native habitats
15. Artemisia vulgaris (Mugwort) Classic aromatic Asteraceae, related to the plant that flavours Absinthe (Artemsia absinthium)
16. Picris hieracioides (Hawkweed Oxtongue) One of those damned elusive yellow Compositae!  This one has undulate leaf margins and forked, hooked hairs
17. Phragmites australis (Common Reed) Big grass of reed beds, the ligule is a fringe of hairs, the plant here is growing through tarmac by the sheer force of hydraulic pressure as the rhizomes expand and grow!
18. Carduus tenuiflorus (Slender Thistle) Thistle with spiny winged stem, relatively small capitula and simple phyllaries. The pappus is of simple hairs (feathery in the related Cirsium thistles)
19. Calamagrostis epigejos (Wood Small Reed) Rhizomatous grass, the key feature of the genus is a conspicuous basal tuft of hairs in the spikelet (check image here)
20. Buddleja davidii (Butterfly-bush) Classic non-native shrub of waste ground with dense inflorescence of honey-scented flowers much loved by butterflies (and hence also by people!) a very invasive species but not on Schedule 9, though many, including Plantlife, would like it to be!

Acknowledegements: Thanks to Dr Fred of the Natural History Museum for assistance in the identification of #18



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