Being confined to the limited council area of the City of Dundee in this Covid year, I was considering options for botanical activities in November. I decided to do a tour of as many of the green places such as parks, nature reserves and cemeteries in the City as could easily be fitted into the limited daylight hours when it wasn’t raining. The plan was to see how many of the wildflowers that had not been planted were in bloom at this sub-optimal time of the year, when most botanists have shelved their floras for the season. My previous survey in Easter Ross suggested that this was not the bleakest time for blooms, that honour belonging to February, after the frosts have done their worst.
On each visit I walked briskly round the main path of the site, noting all vascular plants in flower. No doubt a prolonged search would have yielded more. In the month of November from the 6th onwards I managed to go to 22 sites, including 6 cemeteries, 5 nature reserves and 11 parks. Some parks remained unvisited and I apologise to them. Anne Reid kindly came along on one occasion.
Feverfew at Dudhope Park, November 24th (left) and Cymbalaria muralis at the Western Cemetery (right).
The cemeteries were: Western (18 species in flower), Barnhilll (15), Balgay (10), Birkhill, (8) Eastern (8) and The Howff (4).
The nature reserves were: Stannergate Grassy Beach (28 species in flower), Riverside Nature Park (22), Miley (8), Broughty Ferry Shiel Street (8) and Trottick Ponds (2).
The parks were: Dawson (15), Clatto (14), Lochee (13), Law Hill (12), Victoria (11), Magdalen Green (10), Dudhope(10), Camperdown (8), Caird (4), Balgay (3) and Templetom (2).
So Stannergate is the winner, closely followed by Riverside Nature Park and Western Cemetery. At this time of year coastal and more open sites tend to be more favoured. In the spring the woodland sites would have been further up the list.
Management is an important factor in these urban places, as the influences of herbicide application and close mowing were much in evidence. The Council is consulting on this and it is hoped they can be persuaded reduce grass cutting in some places.
The winning site: Stannergate (left); the winning species: Bellis perennis (right).
A total of 71 species were in flower with Daisy (Bellis perennis) in top spot on 12 sites, followed closely by Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) in 11 places. It was good to see Fumaria capreolata (White Ramping Fumitory) and Pastinaca sativa (Wild Parsnip) still in flower at Stannergate.
So, it is still worth venturing forth to look for wildflowers in November. Many more species are also there in vegetative form. I hope to repeat the exercise in the New Year to see how many plants are still in flower.
Species List: Alchemilla molllis, Anthriscus sylvestris, Arabidopsis thaliana, Arrhenatherum elatius, Bellis perennis, Calystegia sylvatica, Capsella bursa-pastoris, Cardamine hirsuta, Centaurea nigra, Centaurea scabiosa, Cerastium fontanum, Cirsium arvense, Cirsium vulgare, Colchicum autumnale, Cymbalaria muralis, Cytisus scoparius, Digitalis purpurea, Epilobium montanum, Erodium cicutarium, Fumaria capreolata, Galium molllugo (album), Geum urbanum, Geranium x oxonianum, Geranium robertianum, Hedera helix sl, Heracleum sphondylium, Hieracium agg, Holcus lanatus, Hypericum androsaemum, Hypochaeris radicata, Knautia arvensis, Lamium purpureum, Lapsana communis, Lathyrus pratensis, Leontodon (Scorozoneroides) autumnalis, Leucanthemum vulgare, Lunaria annua, Lupinus x regalis, Matricaria discoidea, Melilotus altissimus, Myosotis arvensis, Papaver somniferurum, Parietaria judaica, Pastinacea sativa, Pentaglottis sempervirens, Plantago lanceolata, Poa annua, Ranunculus acris, Ranunculus repens, Rubus fruticosus, Rumex crispus, Senecio jacobaea (Jacobaea vulgaris), Senecio vulgaris, Silene dioica, Silene vulgaris, Sisymbrium officinale, Sonchus asper, Sonchus oleraceus, Stellaria graminea, Stellaria media, Tanacetum parthenium, Tanacetum vulgare, Taraxacum agg, Trifolium pratense, Trifolium repens, Tripleurospermum inodorum, Tripleurospermum maritimum, Veronica hederifolia, Veronica persica, Vicia sativa, Ulex europaeus.
© Brian Ballinger