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The students from Wheatfield Primary School were asked to collect as many different leaves as possible from the ground while walking through the nature reserve to determine how many tree species exist within the area.

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The students were asked to produce leaf rubbings to record their findings and ensure accurate identification.

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Nicole Daw from the National Trust helped the students to identify the leaves and informed the students about the different tree species that are found in the United Kingdom.

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It’s amazing what you can find in a British woodland. Today there have been serveral guided woodland walks, and we joined David Molesworth to suss out some of the local plants.

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David on an identifying spree

Species of interest included lords and ladies (Arum maculatum) just up the path from the base camp. This plant has a fascinating flower which unfortunately isn’t out at the moment!

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Lords and ladies

Two steps up the path and we’ve stopped again. This time it’s sweet chestnut catching David’s eye. This well known tree species was introduced by the Romans 2000 years ago.

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Sweet chestnuts

We also come across a number of different moss species (brought back to the lab for proper identification), broad butler ferns, small hawthorn plants and some garlic mustard (which we find out tastes bitter!) All of this and more in 10 metres of woodland.

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Some of the more interesting finds are perhaps some of the species that we take for granted in such public parks – the plants and trees.

Dave Molesworth, a UK flowering plants and bryophytes enthusiast, scoured the ground with his camera earlier today and managed to perfectly capture some of the species that are most interesting to him.

Among these plants and trees, were two native geraniums – Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum) and Cutleaved cranes bill (Geranium dissectum). Dave also managed to photograph Wych elm (Ulmus glabra), a tree decimated by disease, but which now appears to be coming back in to the parks of Britain.

Wych elm

Herb-robert

One of the more striking finds was the Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon). A beautiful plant, which looks extraordinary in the wonderful ground on a sunny day! Also, Dave stumbled upon Jack-by-the-hedge (Alliaria petiolata), commonly known as Garlic mustard, thanks to it’s flavour.

Yellow archangel

Jack-by-the-hedge

It tastes good in salads, but perhaps more intriguing is the plant’s medicinal purpose – the member of the Brassicacae family can be used to treat a variety of ailments – from a sore throat to gangrene!

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