To look at a colony of Snake's-head Fritillary nearer to Hook Norton we went to North Meadow in Cricklade, and then on to Upper Waterhay and Clattinger Farm. We saw thousands upon thousands of flowering plants. At North Meadow the number of flowering to non-flowering plants was approximately 1:3 but we probably underestimated the number of juveniles. (A very different ratio to that for Gagea lutea at Whitehill Wood) It would suggest that from seed to flower is around 3 to 4 years - more if there is one or more years of unseen bulb development underground.
An obvious feature of the Cricklade populations is the number of purple to white plants. The proportion was consistent at each location but the figures for the three locations were very different. At North Meadow we came up with a figure of 4.8% as the proportion of white plants (total of 396 plants) whereas at Upper Waterhay the white proportion was 64.4% (194 plants). At Clattinger Farm we found only 6 white plants across the whole meadow. A quick look at the literature gave figures of virtually no white plants in 2 Polish populations, but between 3.5 and 5.8% for a Scandinavian population. By contrast a definitely anthropogenic population in Poland was predominantly white.
Whilst white flowers reflect more UV no difference has been seen in their attractiveness to pollinators. During our visit we saw bumblebees and solitary bees visiting; the latter spent more time in the flowers, emerging covered in pollen, and very active in moving from one flower to the next.
I put spores from the two rusts found on Gagea lutea under the microscope. The spores of Vankye ornithogali measured 16 x 12 microns, compared to 29 x 22 microns for Uromyces gageae.
|Vankye ornithogali spores|
|Uromyces gageae spores|
It was the Muscari neglectum count at Chadlington last Monday. Unfortunately it was briefer than usual because most of the village green where there were hundreds last year had been cut probably three weeks or so ago. It all looked very neat, but really! (It's the same in Hook Norton; because most people cannot recognise even a handful of plants they see a grassy space and want it to look short and neat). Worse, grass clippings had been stuffed into a shrubby area on top of Muscari plants. There was some encouragement though in that areas we had cleared in the autumn (gardening!) showed a recovery in the number of flowering plants.
|An area cleared of denser vegetation in Autumn|
|Chadlington village green|