RECORD: Oliver, D. 1855. Memoranda of plants, collected by the Coquet, in 1855. [Read 15 November] Transactions of the Tyneside Naturalists' Field Club 3, part 2: 67.
REVISION HISTORY: Scanned by John van Wyhe, transcribed (single key) by AEL Data 8.2008. RN1
IV.—Memoranda of Plants, collected by the Coquet, in 1855.
By D. OLIVER, Jun.
[Read, November 15th, 1855.]
A brief visit, in the course of the past summer, to Alwinton, and the neighbourhood of Rothbury and Harbottle, enabled me to catalogue several species of plants, with the occurrence of which in that district we were previously unacquainted. Nearly every
one visiting the Upper Coquet carries with him his creel and fishing tackle: the little opportunity afforded me by but four or five days of rather indifferent weather convinced me, however, that these might with advantage be laid aside now and then for the vasculum and note-book. I believe there is abundant scope for the Naturalist, on comparatively new ground too, about the head waters and valleys of the Coquet, Alwine, and Reed.
In addition to a list of the commoner species which were met with on this excursion, given to my friend John Storey, the occurrence of which, although almost ubiquitous some of them may be, yet it is always interesting to note from as many points as possible within the limits of our counties, I have thought it worth while specially to record a few which we but seldom meet with in the south of Northumberland, together with a few others which are new to our comital Flora, and to which considerable interest attaches.
Barbarea stricta? Fries. A plant referable, with doubt, to this species or form, was found near the Coquet, above Rothbury.
Viola lutea, Linn. Hilly pastures, near Alwinton.
Polygala vulgaris, var. oxyptera, Reich. A Polygala having remarkably broad capsules was found near Shildykes, Alwinton. It probably may be considered as the above variety.
Dianthus deltoides, Linn. Rocks, &c., near the Coquet above Alwinton, and near Flotterton.
Trifolium arvense, L. and
Trifolium striatum, L. Growing together, near the Coquet, between Rothbury and Harbottle.
Rosa hibernica, var.
It afforded me much pleasure to meet with a form of this species near the village of Thropton, some three miles to the west of Rothbury. Having collected this rose in the previous summer, under the guidance of my friend Wilson Robinson, jun., in the Lorton valley, Cumberland, I was enabled to refer it, with some certainty, to the R. hibernica type. Submitting specimens to William Borrer, whose intimate acquaintance with the British
Roses is, I believe, unequalled, he kindly pointed out certain respects in which it differed from the form hitherto met with in Ireland and Cumberland. The setigerous peduncle, and the smaller and more numerous prickles, were the chief distinctions noted. It seems very nearly allied to R. Wilsoni, a plant, I presume, unknown to grow elsewhere in Britain than by the Menai Straits; it also presents not a little of the character of Rosa Sabini, Woods.
True it is that many species of Rosœ seem remarkably prone to variation; yet I am not aware that, hitherto, R. hibernica has been found to deviate materially from its specific type. I am nearly satisfied that the Rothbury plant deserves to be considered as a marked variety; but, before describing it as such, yet further data must be obtained. Through the kindness of a friend who happened to visit the neighbourhood some time after, and collected the plant, I have obtained examples in more matured fruit.* It is but about two or three years ago that the species was first distinctly ascertained to grow in England, by William Borrer: he discovered the plant in the Vale of Lorton, near Scale-hill, and near the village of Lorton.. It is there found scattered up and down in various hedge-rows. I think it proper to mention here, that almost immediately on my arrival in Rothbury, I accidentally met with George Mennell, of Newcastle, who happened to be staying there at the time. On learning the object of my visit, he informed me that a rose which was new to him, or presented some peculiarity, had caught his attention, somewhere, I believe, about the village. No examples were shown to me, therefore I am unable to say whether this plant be R. hibernica or not; it is quite probable, however, that it may be the same, although I did not observe it myself elsewhere than at the station near Thropton; but the limited time spent about Rothbury precluded anything like a thorough search.
The physical configuration of the valley of the Coquet, near Rothbury, and between that place and Harbottle, did, I think,
* Specimens gathered at both periods were placed upon the table, together with examples of R. hibernica from near Lorton and the north of Ireland, with allied species and forms from other parts.
recall that of the well known vale of Lorton; and the probability is, that it will eventually be found sparingly scattered through that district.
Sedum villosum, L. Near Alwinton.
Galium pusillum, L. In tolerable abundance at one spot near the Coquet, between Rothbury and Harbottle.
Crepis succisœfolia, Tausch. Thickets near Rothbury and Alwinton.
Hieracium. Among one or two other interesting forms were specimens (or at least one example) which my friend, J. Backhouse, jun., of York, thinks may be, perhaps, the lost H. oreades of Fries. I have not heard from him the result of a further examination which he was about to bestow on it. He is at present engaged in the preparation of a Monograph of our British Hawk-weeds; and should our plant prove to be the above, it will form an interesting addition to it.*
Filago minima, Fr. Near Rothbury. It seems strange that Winch, in his "Flora," did not indicate any particular station for this species in Northumberland or Durham, merely stating with respect to it—"in barren, sandy places, not rare." It never occurred to me near Newcastle.
Polemonium cœruleum, L. Declivity above the Coquet, near Shildykes, Alwinton. One of the most interesting plants met with on this excursion. Hitherto observed in a wild state in, I think, but some three counties of England, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, and Westmorland. (Watson's Cybele.) It is frequently enough to be found by cottage gardens, as an undoubted outcast or straggler, but here we may rest satisfied as to its being truly indigenous. I can only guess the altitude of its station above the sea level; perhaps 600 feet may be an approximation.
Melampyrum pratense, L. var. montanum. By Simonside. I have already had occasion to allude more than once to the occurrence of forms of Melampyrum, evidently con-
* I believe that J. B. now considers this plant to be a form of H. vulgatum, although diverse from that usually occurring.
VOL III. PT. II. J
nected closely with this variety, but not according with the too limited diagnoses originally published by Dr. Johnston, I suppose in his "Berwick's Flora."*
Myosotis repens, Don. Near Alwinton.
Juncus diffusus, Hoppe. Near Alwinton. I also met with this plant near Cramlington, a few weeks ago. I trust to have an opportunity before long of more closely watching the development of the ovules and seed of J. diffusus, with a view definitely to ascertain whether or not such are perfected, and become capable of germination. It seems always to occur as the halm of J. communis (nearly), bearing the panicle of J. glaucus.
Carex prœcox, Jacq. Near Alwinton. Rather local, or infrequent about Newcastle.
Finally, this list, the result of a hurried visit, may be but a promise of yet more important discoveries in the same quarter.
* See Annals N. H. (N. S.), xii.219, and Phytologist.
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