Thursday, 22 May 2014

Upper Wardington: ivy-leaved toadflax

I took my camera with me to the polling station (European elections).  The sun was shining after a heavy downpour.  Ivy-leaved toadflax growing on the Hornton stone walls of the Wardington Manor caught my eye.  Droplets of water adhered to the waxy leaves. It is not native to the UK, originating from the Mediterranean and widely naturalised. 

To quote wikipedia: This plant has an unusual method of propagation. The flower stalk is initially positively phototropic and moves towards the light – after fertilisation, it becomes negatively phototropic and moves away from the light. This results in seed being pushed into dark crevices of rock walls, where it is more likely to germinate and where it prefers to grow. 

Clever plant.

Driving back into the village a little earlier, a red kite drifted across the road.  They are definitely a more regular sighting this year.  There are plenty to the south of Banbury but kites are not well established to the north - hopefully it's just a question of time before they are as frequent as buzzards are now (themselves something of a scarcity until a decade ago).

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