On Monday 30 March I noticed a large patch of what appears to white butterbur (Petasites albus) growing in damp shady woodland close to the gate and Dam Head Bridge and old quarry at Bretton Hall Parkland (image attached). I understand this perennial is a garden escape beginning to naturalise itself in places spreading by underground runners or rhizomes. Similar to other butterbur species, the male and female flowers are found on separate plants and this is probably a male plant. Also the flowers emerge well in advance of the foliage which makes them especially noticeable at this time of year.
It was a fine morning for our walk along the lakeside at Pugneys with plenty of meadow buttercups, ox-eye daisies and bird’s-foot trefoil. As we turned left we saw patches of cut leaved cranesbill, smooth hawks beard, dog-rose, common and tufted vetch, Jack-go-to-bed-a-noon. Abundant blue damsel flies tinted the grasses blue as they swayed in the breeze – another left hand turn took us onto a damp track alongside the second lake where we admired yellow iris, bistort and burr reed. Turning into the field stepping through the mud a large patch of creeping cinquefoil welcomed us and we began to see a number of orchids dotted about in the grass – common spotted orchid and northern marsh orchid making our damp trek worthwhile. Roger photographed this orchid which is probably a hybrid common spotted x northern marsh orchid.