June – what’s out and about

Alpine meadow rue – Thalictrum alpinum. This is one of the true mountain flowers. Its leaves divided into 3 main sections, these in turn divided each into 3 sections, which may have further divisions but these not or only just to base. Snowdonia is home to almost two thirds of Britains fern species and as such is a highly important region.

Apple water fountain moss – Philonotis fontana. A wonderful moss of wet flushes. It produces apple like reproductive capsules and has a distinctive vivid green colour.

 

 

Snowdon lily – Lloydia serotina. The first record of the Snowdon lily in Great Britain was made, in 1682, by the Welsh botanist Edward Llwyd. It is the only native alpine bulb and its British distribution is restricted to several high cliffs in Snowdonia. It is found on nutrient poor, acidic rock unlike many of our other native arctic-alpine flowers. In other mountain ranges, such as the Alps and the Rockies, it can be found on gently rolling alpine tundra above the treeline. Its local Welsh name, ‘y bryfedog’ – the spiderwort, describing its delicate-looking nature.

Starry saxifrage – Saxifraga stellaris. This is the commonest saxifrage found in Wales. It is often found in wet flushes. It can be distinguished by two orange dots on its petals. Its leaves have few scattered teeth.

 

 

Moss campion – Silene acaulis. This plant has deep tap roots like other campions which allow it to gain a strong hold in the adverse weather and also to gather nutrients. It is a compact cushion forming plant and grows more northerly than any other plant. A true arctic species. Recognizable at a distance in June when its flower-covered cushions make a dazzling splash of colour on the cliffs.

Mountain avens – Dryas octopetala. This is a light loving plant and is found on the gribin ridge on a south facing aspect. This is unusual for arctic alpine plants in Snowdonia as they are often outcompeted here and are restricted to the dark and damp north facing cliffs and ledges. Mountain avens is a creeping, woody perennial, with lobed leaves similar to a small oak leaf. These leaves are densely covered in white hairs underneath. This plant, probably widespread after the last glaciation, is a native of limestone and other basic rock on mountains.

Moonwort – Botrychium lunaria. Unmistakable. A Fern which looks like an Arum. Each frond consists of a sterile, fernlike green blade of roundish leaflets, and a fertile spike carrying the clusters of sporangia or spore cases. This is not a true alpine plant but is seen here at 780m altitude near Clogwyn A´┐Żarrddu station on Snowdon growing on an nutrient poor acid soil.

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