Glasnevin House Botany Walk on Culture Night Friday 21 September 2018
A Betula pubescens
Birch tree with papery and hard corky bark on the trunk, boughs, branches and twigs. The twigs have leaves and buds. Each leaf has stalk and a blade, with a glossy upper side and a matt lower side with veins.
B, C Old Sundial Plinths
The two plinths have Physcia caesia, a grey lichen with marginal lobes that are 1-2mm wide and central convex powdery patches called soralia. The orange leafy lichen is Xanthoria parietina, and orange yellow rimmed discs make the ascospores. This lichens’ fruitbodies are called apothecia. The grey lichen has no fruitbodies, however there are black spots which could be a lichenicolous fungal infection, of unknown species until it is sampled, dissected and observed under the microscope. More species are on each plinth too, if you stay a while and look close up with short sight or a x10 hand lens.
D Stump seat
This has, in the cracks of the wood of the tree trunk heartwood, a cushion moss, an acrocarp, with fruiting stalks or seta, with the fruit or capsule, on the end, up in the air. A tree ring count might assist in dating the planting of large trees in the Glasnevin House grounds.
E Cedrus atlantica glauca
This cedar has green grey leaf needles and the cones have resin droplets on them. Some of the young cones are green grey too, while older cones the surface cells turn into cork and go pale brown. The needles are in clusters, the twigs end in buds that make clusters of yellower young needles. A dead branch has no needles with old brown cones that are sometimes overgrown by the yellow lichen Xanthoria parietina, and other cones have been eaten by grey squirrels, Scurius carolinensis.
These tree rodents with fluffy tails can bite the fingers of the hands of people when they attempt to feed them by sharing some nuts from their packet of hazelnuts, Corylus avellana.
F Taxus baccata
This gymnosperm has a naked seed, inside a green aril, which goes red when ripe. The seed can be seen as a green or brown vessel inside the soft fleshy red aril. The Arils can drop onto the path, and are squashed by perambulator wheels or feet, and are eaten by pigeons, Columba palumbarius.
G Shrine roof
On the vertical slate joins acrocarpous cushion mosses grow. These green cushions, perhaps Bryum capillare, are not making fruits, and will make them in the spring. On the sloping slate surfaces the yellow lichen Xanthoria parietina grows.
H Sedum telephium
This fleshy matt grey green leaved herb with a broad clustered head of red flowers that mature late in the season in September and October. The leaf cells have a system of Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) different from normal plants. The CAM system occurs in Cacti and other desert plants like Euphorbia. When in flower well into the Autumn, the umbels make nectar for the evening flying migrant Silver-Y moth, Plusia gamma.
I Malva sylvestris
The mallow has purple flowers with five separate petals. The leaves are rounded with long stalks.
There is a beetle that makes small shot holes in the leaves, by munching on them, while a youngster. The beetle eggs are laid on the leaf underside, right next the veins. When they hatch into larvae, these hungry creatures feed on a few mallow leaf cells, as salad making the holes. Once they mature, they turn into a pupa, and then hatch and fly off as an adult beetle.
The place where this beetle pupates is unknown, but must be in the habitat close by. For the biodiversity garden, we should think where these beetles like to pupate, and provide them that place undisturbed for the autumn, winter and spring, until the first generation of spring adults emerge.
J Quercus ilex
This evergreen oak or holm oak has glossy leathery leaves with a white hairy underside and a prominent white midrib below. The tree makes acorns in cupules, like in all kinds of oak trees. The grey lichen on the trunk bark is Diploicia canescens. It has neat narrow encrusting lobes, makes grey powdery areas, and sometimes black disk fruitbodies. If dissected under the microscope the ascospores will be 1-septate and brown, like all fertile taxa in the Physciaceae family of lichens.
K Quercus alba
This is an American oak with a rather strange leaf shape. The acorn cupules have long, eyelash-like, green prongs. The acorns themselves are like those of any oak. Many acorns fail to produce viable seeds, and do not swell at all, before they harden and become corky and fall from the tree. The acorns on the sloping path roll readily and can be a slip hazard, under an unsuspecting nun’s moccasin. Twigs of the pin oak have a second fruiting yellow lichen, Xanthoria polycarpa.
L Ilex aquifolium
The undulating edged prickly leaves, green stems, and red berries, of a female Holly bush are a feature of Christmas. The berries are green until summer and redden in the autumn. The holly blue butterfly, Celastrina argiolus, breeds in leaves of this tree, laying eggs here.
M Cedrus libani
This cedar of Lebanon has a trunk from which ivy has been cut back. It is a graceful tree when viewed from the Margaret Aylward centre meeting room. Below this is some Elder, and Ash grove and a Hawthorn hedge. The yew walk begins next, and Ivy flowers can be seen.
S Rubus fruticosus
A blackberry patch is below the cedar on an open slope.
T Sambucus nigra
The elder leaves are looking a bit yellow here in Autumn 2018.
U Fraxinus excelsior
The ash grove of saplings has a leaf mildew on the leaf underside in some leaves in Autumn 2018. There are other leaves that have been partly eaten, have inrolled galls, or are otherwise brown spotted and so on. A wide range of insects live on ash trees, and this is a good place to study which species are actually present on ash here in Glasnevin.
A small flowered bindweed with fused petals making a white trumpet flower is growing among the upper part of the Blackberry patch above the grove of ash saplings. Convolvolus arvensis or Calystegia sepium are options. Can you find out what species this is?
W Crataegus monogyna
The large hawthorn bush here is without parallel in my repertoire, with the parasite Mistletoe.
Mistletoe, Viscum album, has green forked stems and small green ellipsoidal opposite leaves. It was introduced into Europe from South America in ancient times, and now grows from Norway to Portugal. The white berries, are they arils too?, rather fleshy and eaten by some birds.
X Symphytocarpus alba
The snowberry is a hedging shrub from Virginia in eastern North America. It has white to pinkish flowers and berries with frothy pulp and seeds inside. It is in the heather family with Calluna vulgaris, Erica cinerea, Erica tetralix, Arbutus unedo, and the Frochan, Vaccinium myrtillus. Can you see some reasons why it is in the heather family?
Y Fence laths with cushion and mat mosses
This old fence has been outdoors for several decades. It has taken on some mosses that normally grown on oak, sycamore or ash tree bough high in the boughs and branches of the canopy. The mosses on the fence laths include acrocarp cushions of Orthotrichum anomalum and pleurocarp mats of Hypnum cupressiforme var resupinatum. A pleurocarp is a moss with a branched shoot making a mat.
Z Salix vimnalis
This osier has elongate leaves. It is a willow, with fluffy catkins. The source of Aspirin, Salicylic acid is fresh willow bark
AA Carex pendula
By the River Tolka, the large sedge has a punchaun of basal leaves whorled together. The flowers are on long fishing rod like stems with tasselled hanging pendulous fruiting spikes with the seeds. The end spike is male and makes pollen on anthers, while the inner spikes are female and make seeds. It grows well in woodland in Ireland. The female fruits or utricles make a fine grained porridge.
AB Scrophularia nodosa
The figwort is a herbaceous plant with zygomorphic flowers that are small and snapdragon like. The ovaries swell to make green fruits.
AC Hedera helix
The leaves on the ground under the yew walk are of Ivy. A green stalk, brown runners, and a triangular hand like like leaf. Ivy tends to climb trees, bushes and walls before it produces flowers. Each flower is in an umbel, a cluster of flowers, and matures into a cluster of berries.
The snowberry in the Ericaceae family here has been cut back and the leaves have a white powdery mildew on them, 10 ix 2018, Erysiphe symphoricarpi, new to Ireland.
AF Salix vimnalis
The willow in the lawn is yellow stemmed. It is a basket or crack willow. Establishing certainty over which cultivar it is, will take more study.
AG Acer pseudoplatanus
Along the bank of the river here are some mature sycamore trees. These make winged seeds
AG Laetiporus sulphureus
On some of the yew trees of the yew walk, a yellow orange bracket fungus grows, making a brown rot in the heartwood of the yew trees.
AH Fraxinus excelsior
The ash trees by the river are large and shed terminal twigs and low branches as well as ask keys on to the lawn below. A set of young saplings could develop in this area, if left to grow.
AI Urtica dioica
A nettle patch occurs in the field at the end of the yew walk. Nettles are so well known, they need no introduction. They may be felt for on the darkest night.
AM Sambucus nigra
The elder here is full of berries. This tree could be propagated and encouraged to grow in other places along the slopes into the future. The fruits are fed on by finches, starlings, pigeons, and other birds. The flower umbels are a wonderful addition to flavour homemade pancakes in May.
AN Ulmus procera
The elm saplings here are hit by Dutch elm disease. Some persist. This tree pandemic occurs because, unlike humans, trees have no immune system. The disease, Ophiostoma ulmi, is spread by a fungus dispersing beetle which lives in galleries under the bark.
AO Inonotus dryadeus
The large oak tree here has an interesting bracket fungus on it, which leaks beads of a resin like fluid, which glistens in the light, of a humid sunny day.
There is a tree in the yew walk that looks as if it is a damson. There are no fruits. However if the ivy is cleared from it, and the tree is propagated, it might be interesting to see what fruits it produces.
AR Pinus montezuma
At the top of the biodiversity garden, there are three pine trees, probably from Monterey in California. The needles are in clusters and rather long, so it should be possible to establish with greater certainty, what species is present.
AX Platanus europaeus
A London plane is growing near the Margaret Aylward Centre.
Google Images Latin name recalls what we know of species, how it looks to a camera. That scientific keyword is used to index this phenomenological existence on the surface of our planet.
Humans are 25% Primrose, as the DNA of Primula vulgaris shows. Care for plants as part of a living community, as Pope Francis advises Christian civilisation in his Laudato Si encyclical.
The Glasnevin O32 six mile raster square on NBDC in Waterford has the data. Download in csv a spreadsheet list of the latin names of what lives here.
BD Share our ability
A thousand names or more of species, to see in our neighbourhood, attested in reality in Glasnevin, by science in lingua Latin; an altruism of information, an abstraction of what lives here, our gift to society, cherished life for all of us, to care for. One by one, respect each, research each, design for each, care for each.
BE Plan with biodiversity
A garden grow more than a gardener sows. Propagate native species that do well in this place, Glasnevin, to feed dependent multitudes. Plan for all local species, make it possible for them to live here. Do that, and one is making a habitat for life in this biodiversity garden.
Howard Fox, 12 ix 2018