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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wed 9th May 2012 - Bembridge Downs.

This week we were on Bembridge Down helping Dave, the National Trust warden.  Despite the (very) strong winds blowing off the sea and the driving rain, more than 20 of us turned up to get our bags and litter pickers to help clear up the rubbish left by people and blown in from the sea.  We filled several bags and also two very large containers full of all kinds of bottles.  Other finds included a metal pole, part of a washing machine and a large piece of wire in strands.

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

This week one of our finds was Glechoma Hederacea and aromatic perennial evergreen creeper of the mint family also known as ground ivy.  It also has other common names including Alehoof, Creeping Charlie, Catsfoot (from the size and shape of the leaf), Field Balm, Run-away-robin, Gill-over-the-ground, and Tunhoof.  The flowers are bilaterally symmetrical, funnel shaped, blue or bluish-violet to lavender, and grow in opposed clusters of 2 or 3 flowers in the leaf axils on the upper part of the stem or near the tip. It usually flowers in the spring, thrives in moist shaded areas, tolerates sun very well and is a common plant in grasslands and wooded areas or wasteland.

Our second find this week was an amazing fungi known as Calvatia, which is a genus of puffball mushrooms which includes the spectacular Calvatia Gigantea but has now been classified in the family Agaricaceae of the order Agaricales.  It is unusual to see at this time of year, and although most species in the genus Calvatia are edible when young, some are best avoided, such as Calvatia fumosa, which has a very pungent odour.  The name Calvatis derives from the Latin calvus meaning "bald" and calvaris, meaning "dome of the skull.

Many thanks to Carrie for the above this week. She apologises for the lack of action photographs but the camera was waterlogged by the rain! 10/10 for all the GG members who turned up.....

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