Saturday, 10 May 2014

Upper Wardington: meadow saxifrage

Upper Wardington meadow saxifrage

This afternoon I made a count of the meadow saxifrage plants that grow in a corner of one of the small meadows close to the village.  I first noticed them about ten years ago and most years they have appreared in small numbers.  Last year the field was grazed through the flowering season and no flowering stalks escaped being chomped by the sheep.  This year it is being left ungrazed and it is proving to be a good season.  I counted sixty flowering stalks. 

meadow saxifrage close-up

It brings a flavour of Alpine meadows to our lowland landscape and is a pretty special thing to find growing near the village. It is one of those declining flowers of unimproved meadows, the flora of Oxfordshire 1998 records it from 51 tetrads (2km by 2km squares).  It is very vulnerable, growing in a patch of grassland on ten metres long by five metres wide. Other meadows nearby have recently been treated with herbicide or covered in soil from building projects or simply ploughed up.  

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