The BSBI New Year Plant hunt was aided by the mild weather and lack of frosts with a record 46 species in flower including Thrift Armeria maritima, Butcher's Broom Ruscus aculeatus, Spear Thistle Cirsium vulgare, Scarlet Pimpernel Anagallis arvensis, Rock Samphire Crithmum maritimum, Hogweed Heracleum sphondylium, Common Stork's-bill Erodium cicutarium and Early Meadow Grass Poa infirma.
A total of 440 species were recorded during the year, (cf. 438 in 2021), including ten species new to the Recording Area flora, although seven of these were non-natives including the widespread Vervain Verbena officinalis and the garden escapes Love-in-a-Mist Nigella damascena and Leyland Cypress Cuprocyparis leylandii. The three native species were all dandelions, the widespread Taraxacum pseudohamatum, the recently described Taraxacum chlorofrugale, and the dune specialist Taraxacum glauciniforme, the only south Devon record for this rare endemic coastal species.
Several species were recorded for the first time in over a decade, including Tutsan Hypericum androsaemum, Cyperus Sedge Carex pseudocyperus and Thorn-apple Datura stramonium.
A check of the long established daffodils remaining on site, mostly on the Golf Course, revealed the continuing presence of Pheasant's-eye Daffodil Narcissus poeticus, first naturalised on the Warren 180 years ago. Other notable records included extensive populations of Mossy Stonecrop Crassula tillea on the Golf Course, but it was a below average year for flowering Sand Crocus Romulea columnae, they first emerged on 22 Mar but in low numbers, however several were found in seed.
Shepherd’s Cress Teesdalia nudicaulis, Dodder Cuscuta epithymum and Small Pondweed Potamogeton berchtoldii all increased on the Golf Course, and Ivy Broomrape Orobanche hederae re-appeared around the Car Park.
The dry conditions during the year meant many flowers burnt off early although there was a late autumn repeat flowering of several species such Dogwood Cornus sanguinea and Bramble Rubus sp.. Despite the conditions the only Green-winged Orchid Orchis morio of the year was a new plant in the surprising location of a dry ridge on Warren Point.
Numbers of flowering Marsh Helleborine Epipactis palustris, Autumn Ladies-tresses Spiranthes spiralis, Bee Ophrys apifera and Southern Marsh Orchid Dactylorhiza praetermissa were down in Greenland Lake, with Marsh Helleborine only just flowering into August after consecutive November appearances. The earlier appearing and nationally declining Snake's-head Fritillary Fritillaria meleagris flowered again in Greenland Lake. Nice to see, whatever the origins.
After much needed rain the flowering numbers of Autumn Ladies-tresses did however have a resurgence, the same conditions also producing a late appearance of Sea Daffodil Pancratium maritimum.
Mosses & Liverworts
The nationally rare liverworts Micheli's Balloonwort Sphaerocarpos michelii and Blue Crystalwort Riccia crystallina again were found in new locations. The Recording Area is one of two Devon locations, with the other just the mainland side of the Railway Tunnel, there the populations remain in decline. The even rarer Spiny-spored Pygmy-moss Acaulon mediterraneum was discovered amongst them by a visiting bryologist.
Two other new but widespread species were also discovered during the year, Anomalous Bristle-moss Orthotrichum anomalum and Common Pocket-moss Fissidens taxifolius.
At total of 71 species were again noted, with five new to the Recording Area. These included Buellia ocellata, Pertusaria pertusa, Lecanora expallens, Rhizocarpon reductum and Xanthoria calcicola, all widespread species.
The nationally scarce Moelleropsis nebulosi was again recorded on Langstone Rock, but the ongoing erosion of the fixed dunes on Warren Point continues to further reduce the nationally scarce Peltigera neckeri.
A total of 170 species were recorded, 28 of which were new for the Recording Area, although the findings of a Devon Fungus Group mtg in November are not yet available, so further additions are anticipated.
New species included Charcoal Goldeneye Anthracobia macrocystis, Orange Ping-pong Bat Favolaschia calocera, Dripping Bonnet Roridomyces austrorida, Mauve Bonnet Mycena meliigena, Creeping Thistle Rust Puccinia punctiformis, Alder Leaf Spike Ophiognomonia alni-viridis and the powdery mildews Erysiphe adunca and Phyllactinia guttata.
Other records included Nectriopsis lecanodes still on Langstone Rock, one of only four English sites, Tuberculina sbrozzii on Periwinkle Rust Puccinia vincae, and the first Spectacular Rustgill Gymnopilus junonius since the 1950s on driftwood on Warren Point.