Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Rivarennes in the Rain

Rivarennes is a small village on the River Creuse in the Brenne. I was invited to go over there to check out the surrounds and the appointed day turned out to be thoroughly miserable weather wise, but thoroughly enjoyable company and scenery wise.

Nottingham Catchfly.
I am super pleased with this photo of Nottingham Catchfly Silene nutans (Fr. Silène penché). They are night flowering, and the flowers only last a few hours. Normally when I see them the petals are rolled back on themselves and the flower is dying. Because it was such a dull moist day they were in good condition for once and I got this nice shot of them with artistic droplets of water. They are a common plant here on flinty chalk soil, growing in dry sunny places.

Built in the 14th century to control the river crossing, the Chateau de la Tour was captured by the English in 1370. It is privately owned.

Eileen on the track through Les Chézeaux.
Eileen and Andrew are the energetic new owners of a tiny house, a large garden and a parcel of woodland in Rivarennes. They asked me over to check out the nearby nature walk of Les Chézeaux, which we were hoping would reveal lots of orchids. Later in the year there will apparently be Martagon Lilies Lilium martagon (Fr. Lis martagon) flowering too. The latter is a species on the north-eastern edge of its range and there are only ten sites in the Brenne where you can see it (most of them near Rivarennes and the surrounding villages along the Creuse).

The oldest house in Rivarennes.
This house, known as Le Pavillon, may not look very special but it is a 14th century tower house. There is an inscription above the door which refers to the killing in the church of a local lad by the lord of the chateau in 1626.

Jachère fleurie.
This lovely patch of jachère fleurie has been sown in the water meadow on the edge of town. When I visited it was dominated by Dames-violet Hesperis matronalis (Fr. Julienne des dames) and Oxeye Daisy Leucanthemum vulgare (Fr. Marguerite). Both plants would be native to this spot and the reason this jachère fleurie is better than the average non-native cosmos heavy effort is that Indre Nature have an office in Rivarennes. Apparently they have had to put a sign up asking people not to pick the flowers. It hasn't been very successful though. People are regularly sighted bearing away armfuls of flowers. Infuriating!

Grass Pea.
The pretty little Grass Pea Lathyrus sphaericus (Fr. Gesse à graines rondes) is uncommon, but there was a nice patch of them growing by the bike path. I've only ever seen single plants before.

A mutant Monkey Orchid.
In the end we only saw one species of orchid in flower, which was disappointing. There was a Lady Orchid Orchis purpurea (Fr. Orchis pourpre) which had been picked, and some other orchids not yet in flower. All we saw in flower were Monkey Orchids Orchis simia (Fr. Orchis singe), at least one of which had been picked, and one of which had a mutation and was 'limbless'. They should look like this, with 'arms' and 'legs' which remind one of a monkey.

Notable Plants to be Seen at Rivarennes:
Broad-leaved Whitebeam / Sorbus latifolia / Alisier de Fontainebleau (M-J) 
Peach-leaved Bellflower / Campanula persicifolia / Campanule à feuilles de Pêcher (J-J)
Small Teasel / Dipsacus pilosus / Cardère velue (J-J-A)
Narrow-leaved Helleborine / Cephalanthera longifolia / Cephalanthère à longues feuilles (M-J)
White Helleborine / Cephalanthera damasonium / Cephalanthère blanche (M-J)
Bird-in-a-Bush / Corydalis solida / Corydale solide (M-A-M)
Berry Catchfly / Cucubalus baccifer / Cucubale à baie (J-A)
Plantain-leaved Leopards Bane / Doronicum plantagineum / Doronic à feuilles de Plantain (A-M-J)
Small-leaved Helleborine / Epipactis microphylla / Epipactis à petite feuilles (J-J)
Narrow-lipped Helleborine / Epipactis muelleri / Epipactis de Müller (J-J)
Irish Spurge / Euphorbia hyberna / Euphorbe d'Irlande (A-M-J-J)
Bloody Cranes-bill / Geranium sanguineum / Géranium sanguin (J-J)
Isopyrum / Isopyrum thalictroides / Isopyre faux-Pigamon (M-A-M)
Fingered Sedge / Carex digitata / Laîche digitée (A-M-J)
Toothwort / Lathraea squamaria / Lathrée écailleuse (M-A)
Violet Limodore / Limodorum abortivum / Limodore à feuilles avortées (M-J)
Martagon Lily / Lilium martagon / Lis martagon (June)
Great Wood-rush / Luzula sylvatica / Luzule des bois (M-J)
Yellow Birds-nest / Monotropa hypopitys / Monotrope sucepin (J-J)
Robust Marsh Orchid / Dactylorhiza elata subsp sesquipedalis / Orchis élevé (M-J)
Early Marsh Orchid / Dactylorhiza incarnata / Orchis incarnat (M-J)
Military Orchid / Orchis militaris / Orchis militaire (A-M-J)
Wych Elm / Ulmus glabra / Orme de montagne (M-A)
Herb Paris / Paris quadrifolia / Parisette (M-J-J)
Hard Shield Fern / Polystichum aculeatum / Polystic à aiguillons
Soft Shield Fern / Polystichum setiferum / Polystic à soies
Primrose / Primula vulgaris / Primavère acaule (M-A)
Oxlip / Primula elatior / Primavère élevée (M-A-M)
Wild Liquorice / Astragalus glycyphyllos / Réglisse sauvage (J-A)
Common Bistort / Polygonum bistorta / Renouée bistorte (M-J-J-A-S)
Early Squill / Scilla bifolia / Scille à deux feuilles (M-A-M)
A ragwort / Senecio erraticus / Séneçon erratique (J-J-A-S)
Wild Grapevine / Vitis vinifera subsp silvestris / Vigne sauvage (M-J)

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