Chinon Fire Station.
Prostrate Veronica Veronica prostrata.Les Puys du Chinonais are 6 outcrops of between 65 and 90 metres above sea level, capped by hard limestone formed in the Cretaceous period, and with sandy lower slopes resulting from the erosion of the ancient plateau. They face south, giving them a quite mediterranean microclimate characterised by wooded summits dominated by Downy Oak and Maritime Pine; dry flower rich grasslands on the slopes and at the base, cultivated vines and cereals.
Dwarf Spurge Euphorbia exigua, with a
Platystomidae fly visitor.
Tassel Hyacinth Muscari comosum bud.
Pasqueflower Pulsatilla vulgaris.Early Spider Orchids Ophrys sphegodes, Vetches Vicia spp and other pea flowers grow amongst the Sheep Fescue Festuca ovina. If you go a bit further up you find Black Spleenwort Asplenium adiantum-niger and Tassel Hyacinth Muscari comosum. Best of all, on the southern end of the site is a significant colony of Pasqueflower Pulsatilla vulgaris, a plant I had never seen in its native habitat before.
The southern tip of le Puy Besnard looks over the valley to
the nuclear power station at Avoine.
PS Curiously, even though this was the date of the first round of voting for the presidential election, and a remarkable 80% of registered voters turned out, I did not hear one word of politics over a 4 hour period in a group of 25 French people! In France it is not compulsory to vote, but it is compulsory to register on the electoral roll (it's a kind of officially overseen rite of passage here). Politics is normally hotly discussed at any gathering too, and I would expect people to be keen to know what I, as a non-French national, thought. But no - apparently botany is even more important than politics!
Tim on PG's machine... nice pix Susan.. especially that fly... very pretty wings. Norfolk Wildlife Trust uses its "Flying Flock" to manage these types of site... except at Thompson Common, where they have some rare-breed ponys to do the work.
Tim: Indeed, flying flocks are considered ideal for pasqueflower site management, but they are complicated to manage. This site is not fenced, so bringing sheep in for a few weeks would involve temporary fencing, temporary stock watering place, temporary yards and ramps for loading and unloading the stock. The area that reqires grazing is very small and you would need to prevent them getting into the wooded section on top. At the moment the site is grazed by rabbits, which is considered the next best thing, but the payoff is the damage they do with burrowing and digging up and eating pasqueflower plants.
Susan, I thought if anyone would know, you would... I keep seeing a wild flower at the moment and I've no idea what it is. Its leaves are long and grass-blade shaped - kind of lily-like but skinny. It's growing along the roadside in shade. It puts up one flower head - kind of like an allium, I'd guess - which is black, but when the flowers open, they're kind of a creamy white. The flower reaches about knee height on me. Do you have any idea what it is?
LJ: It sounds like White Asphodel. I have written a page for it on LVN: http://loirenature.blogspot.fr/2009/12/white-asphodel-asphodelus-albus.html
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