Botanopithecus has continued to watch for the arrival of new plants in the street. Six of those recorded in 2005, but not seen on 6 May, have now reappeared. As anticipated there are now three more grass species, but more unexpected is a single plant of a third species of Senecio. Sedum dasyphyllum has greatly increased but one of its largest clumps, clinging to the foot of a rubbish bin, has suffered from the application of a boot. It has shattered into myriad, single-leaved potential propagules and shows the brittleness of its stems. Two unexpected garden escapes are of particular interest – an Alchemilla and a single young plant of a sedge that is unlikely to reach large enough size for certain identification, but most likely to be Carex pendula. The tally (recorded since 2005) has now reached a total of 86 species – 8 ferns and 78 angiosperms.
Every morning a Council official with a mobile dustbin, armed with a small hoe, collects litter and dislodges ‘weeds’ from Randolph Place on the eastern side of Queensferry Street. Botanopithecus is powerless to halt these activities, and the litter collecting is appreciated given the disgusting habits of some Edinburgh citizens, but he dreads the day when the official crosses the street and applies his hoe to Melville Street, the edges of which are now pleasantly softened by an almost continuous sward of Polypogon viridis. This, like the back of the botanist’s neck, is soft and ragged though green of shade rather than white.
Rosaceae. Garden lady’s-mantle (Alchemilla mollis) (S side only)
Onagraceae. American willowherb (Epilobium ciliatum)
Leguminosae. Lesser trefoil (Trifolium dubium)
Compositae. Sticky groundsel (Senecio viscosus)
Gramineae. Perennial rye-grass (Lolium perenne); red fescue (Festuca rubra) (S side only)
Fern. Woodsiaceae. Lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina)
Umbelliferae. Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium)
Compositae. Spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
Cyperaceae. Pendulous sedge (Carex cf. pendula)
Gramineae. Yorkshire fog (Holcus lanatus)