rare hay meadow plants
My day-job is working on an upland hay meadow restoration project for the North Pennines AONB. This involves surveying lots of hay meadows between the last week of May and the first week of July. Last year in 133 meadows I didn't find any real rarities, but this year I've already found two in the first week!
I have not attempted to identify Euphrasias up to now but decided to give it a go this year as there are some species that are very good indicators of unimproved meadows. The first Euphrasia I found this year turned out to be E. rostkoviana subsp. montana. Check this link for a distribution map http://www.bsbiatlas.org.uk/map_page.php?spid=797&sppname=Euphrasia%20rostkoviana%20subsp.%20montana&commname=Eyebright. I found this in a meadow near Slaggyford in South Tynedale.
Yesterday while surveying in Allendale I found an Alchemilla with hairs on the upper surface of the leaves, which didn't look right for A. filicaulis. The sinus was almost closed and the bottom lobes pointed upwards - characters typical of A. subcrenata. On closer inspection some of the hairs in the stem and petioles were deflexed and Margaret Bradshaw (the BSBI Alchemilla referee) confirmed that she thought it was A. subcrenata. It had not been found outside of Teesdale and Weardale before so this is a new record for Northumberland. Margaret was the first person to find this species in Britain in 1951 and she is still going strong!