Though this is not a real bioblitz in the sense that I hadn’t time to investigate about each species living by, I nevertheless also had the chance to census another place.
Quite quickly only, my actual aim was to prepare a natural sciences class.
The most common plants from a forest near Rennes (French Brittany, map here), on the 25th September in the morning (a foggy one).
Now that I got a few pictures back, I make it a full post on its own…
The place begins as a managed forest area planted mainly with Pinus nigra, the European Black Pine (a wood of economical importance), with lines of deciduous trees between each pine blocks, consisting of American Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), an introduced species (that’s fortunately not invasive), or Alnus glutinosa, the Alder, a lot of Betula pendula trees (Silver Birch) and several oak species…
It does not look like a mature forest, indeed it is only twenty year old, but it is more diverse than previously…
The ground is covered by a rather dense cover of Purple Moor Grass (Molinia caerulea) from which occasional stems of the Bracken Ferns (Pteridium aquilinum), and more frequently, bushes of Common Gorse (Ulex europaeus) and its smaller relative the Dwarf Gorse (U. minor).
The latters produce a very thick and spiny wall and is responsible for making the path a looking like a rather tortuous labyrinth. But it’s also the flowering season for this species, and its pure goldish yellow also make our way smoother.
Among many tufts of Calluna vulgaris, a somewhat frequent plant of Northern French forests and edges, were growing a few sparse indivudals of Erica ciliaris (which would be ‘Hairy Erica’ had it an English name), with intense pink inflorescences flashing among the fall grasses.
Further away the managed strand gives up before the natural and old woods.
But other species are also growing in this friendly but shaddy neighbourhood, notably smaller trees like Hazelnuts, wild Pyrus trees (that don’t produce interesting fruits), Sorbus torminalis (Wild Service Tree), spiny leaved Ilex aquifolium (European Holly).
The ground is almost naked, I mean, wearing a brownishly black dress of dead leaves and humus, with endless attempts of green mosses and trunky silver lichen spots to colonize it. There can be found a few ferns (why did they cross the gap?) and grasses, along with rare lianas of Lonicera periclymenum, known as the European Honeysuckle, climbing up their way to the far skyline.
Treasures just wait in here, like this big Boletus edulis (this guy won’t be making spores).
Or like the amazing dung beetle Geotrupes stercorarius, finding a paradise anywhere “big” mammals are living (here, at least some horse has a regular walk through).
As I read the Wikipedia page, I learn it is becoming rare. That makes sense of my own walking experience over the last decade. It’s still widespread but the numbers are somewhat falling down.
Back to the edges, the Brackens take back as a dominant species delineating the roadside, only beaten by Rubus fructicosus and then many grasses I really didn’t volunteered identifying, but still along with a few sparse other species of special interest.
One of them is Rhamnus frangula, commonly known as Alder Buckthorn, which I didn’t know yet, and whose stem epiderm is known as a quite powerful laxative (this is for search strings, we never know :). Chewing leaves may well be a bad habit if you don’t chose carefully your species…
That place is also so promising for Araneus diadematus (especially when the web is built next to Rubus inflorescences), that it is somewhat overcrowded…