For our last visit of the season the wildflower group re-visited Roach Lime Hills at Garforth. We should have been at Ledsham vale to seek three kinds of scabious but decided the five young bullocks on the vale were too curious and distracting to make for a comfortable visit.
Roach is an easy walk from the main road, and we were able to find field scabious, small scabious, agrimony, clustered bellflower, carline thistle (pictured), a few clumps of autumn gentian although only half the size they should have been attributable, we assumed, to the very dry summer.
This picture of a gall in the stem of creeping thistle was spotted by two of our members and is the home of the fly Urophora cardui, which is one of the picture-winged flies. Up to 10cm long, the galls gradually become brown and woody as they mature in late summer. Each contains one or more larval chambers, and the larvae remain in the galls when the plant dies down in the autumn. They pupate in the spring, but new adult flies cannot emerge until the galls start to rot and disintegrate. They normally emerge in mid-summer and lay their eggs in the tips of young shoots.