Posted on May 27, 2022
The Charlton Down Nature Reserve has seen some significant ‘tidying up’ over the last year. I do not know why a nature reserve should be so neat and tidy, with swathes of close-cut grass and pathways that look as if they cover a greater proportion of the site than the ‘wild’ areas themselves. Nevertheless, some wild native flowers have survived this Spring, although to a much lesser degree than observed in previous years. There is a thick carpeting of very small Yellow Rattle plants low down on the ever-decreasing central area which I think has been cut twice at least since last autumn..
Posted on July 23, 2021
Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor) is a small flowering plant which you might easily overlook, but in the CD Nature Reserve it is the most abundant plant in the wild area nearest to the pond. It is semi-parasitic on the roots of other plants. Yellow rattles are known to grow in undisturbed meadows and stabilised dunes. In our area the plants are never reaching their full height or vigour as in other places I have visited (like the sand dunes of Oxwich Bay in South Wales). They reach about 6 or 7 inches and are very crowded together amongst the grass and other vegetation. The flowers are yellow and have leaf-like bracts with a distinctive triangular shape and serrated edges. The common name alludes to the inflated capsules that develop when the flowers are done. The ripe seeds will actually rattle in the dried brown pods.
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