Llanelli Naturalists Newsletter - January 2005 - No 71
Ian Morgan

Leader Ian Morgan

On a pleasant sunny evening after some previous rain, Llanelli Naturalists members assembled in the car park below Furnace Pond at SN503021.  The assembled party then followed the path ascending the small dam which skirts the west side of the small reservoir, built to meet Llanelli’s growing industrial needs before the more substantial Lliedi Reservoirs were constructed.

En route the party saw various planted trees including a true Black Poplar (Populus nigra subsp. betulifolia) (donated by the leader in 1999) and various other native species planted by the Council.   The latter has also put various water lily cultivars into the pond and, rather oddly as a marginal, ‘Aunt Eliza’ (Crocosmia paniculata), a South African species which does, in its native habitat, grow in streamside situations.  It is related to, and resembles, the more frequent but less robust, Montbretia (Crocosmia x crocosmiflora), well-known as a garden throw-out.  Another garden throw-out, along with the cultivated form of Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. argentatum), was Greater Cuckooflower (Cardamine raphanifolia).  This looks like a darker purple flowered (and larger) version of our native Cuckooflower but has a rhizomatous mode of spread, and hence gets jettisoned from gardens.  It grows in wet alluvium in the wet woodland next to the car park.  Several members of the party puzzled over a tallish grass growing at the edge of the scrub, which after reference to the keys in Stace, was pronounced to be Meadow Fescue (Festuca pratensis), quite an uncommon species in the county.

The party then followed the little ‘cwm’ northwards towards Cwtta Farm.  On the left hand side (west) was a nice wooded dingle with much Alder (Alnus glutinosa) and also some mature planted individuals of non-native trees such as Norway Maple (Acer platanoides) and Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa) in the lower section.  Also noted here were a few plants of Early Dog-violet (Viola reichenbachiana). To the right (east) the party noted the successful re-colonisation of a bracken-dominated slope by birch and oak and further-on, in a wet, flushed, rushy field were growing a few rosettes of Whorled Caraway (Carum verticillatum), the Carmarthenshire’s newly declared County Flower.  Finally, near Cwtta Farm, the party stopped at one of the few agriculturally unimproved fields, but was disappointed to see that it had been recently planted with trees under an agri-environment scheme!