West Midland Bird Club

Blithfield Reservoir: Survey of Flowering Plants and Ferns, 15 August 2006


A survey of the plant life of Blithfield Reservoir was made on 15 August 2006. The visit was made as part of the Staffordshire Flora Project, for which more than forty members of the Botanical Society of the British Isles * and/or Staffordshire Wildlife Trust * are gathering data covering the period 1995–2008. There are well over 800 tetrads (2km × 2km squares) involved and portions of the Reservoir lie in four of them. Work has already been undertaken in other parts of these tetrads.


Numbers of new and total records by tetrad
Tetrad Grid Reference
(at south-west corner)
Additional Records Total Records
SK02L SK0422 13 224
SK02R SK0622 47 258
SK02R SK0622 24 235
SK02S SK0624 32 240

Catapodium rigidum (Fern-grass) grew on the ground of the Education Centre car park. The most significant finds for the reservoir proper were as follows.

Aquatic Species

There was a paucity of these. There were small quantities of Elodea canadensis (Canadian Waterweed), Potamogeton pectinatus (Fennel Pondweed — by the causeway at the end of Admaston Reach, SK05492368), P. pusillus (Lesser Pondweeddrain near River Blythe, SK04742539), Ranunculus aquatilis s.l. [1] (a Water-crowfoot), R. aquatilis s.s. [2] (Common Water-crowfoot — in SK02R), Lemna minuta (Least Duckweed), L. minor (Common Duckweed), L. trisulca (Ivy-leaved Duckweed) and Equisetum fluviatile (Water Horsetail).

Inner Recently-exposed Muddy Fringe

The nationally scarce Limosella aquatica (Mudwort) was frequent in much of SK02M, SK02L and SK02R with, in particular, tens of thousands of plants at the north end of Tad Bay and much around the pools at Watery Lane Bay. Littorella uniflora (Shoreweed) was scattered throughout. There was no trace of Lythrum portula (Water Purslane), which often occurs round such water bodies: it was thought that this needs a more stony surface in which to survive.

Outer Recently-exposed Fringe

Persicaria amphibia (Amphibious Bistort) was frequent and Potentilla anserina (Silverweed) abundant. No Mentha aquatica (Water Mint) was seen, but there were many young examples of M. arvensis (Corn Mint) and M. x gracilis (Bushy Mint), with M. x piperata (Peppermint) at SK04742533. There were abundant seedlings of Gnaphalium uliginosum (Marsh Cudweed) and Chenopodium rubrum (Red Goosefoot). Rorippa palustris (Marsh Yellow-cress) was occasional and a single Rumex maritimus (Golden Dock) was seen at SK06032481, in Duckley Reach.

Permanent Margin

Carex hirta (Hairy Sedge), Stachys palustris (Marsh Woundwort), Galeopsis tetrahit s.s. [3] (Common Hemp-nettle), Bidens tripartita (Trifid Bur-marigold), Eleocharis palustris (Common Spike-rush), Salix cinerea (Grey Willow), S. viminalis (Osier) and S. fragilis (Crack Willow) were much in evidence as were the commoner Juncus (Rush) species. Schoenoplectus lacustris (Common Club-rush — Duckley Reach, SK05932561), Typha latifolia (Bulrush), Alisma plantago-aquatica (Water-plantain), Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife), Salix caprea, S. alba (Goat Willow and White Willow), the hybrid Willow, S. x reichardtii (SK05992430), Pulicaria dysenterica (Yellow Fleabane), Equisetum palustre (Marsh Horsetail), Carex otrubae, C. acutifomis (False Fox-sedge and Lesser Pond-sedge), Lycopus europaeus (Gypsywort) and Bidens cernua (Nodding Bur-marigold) were infrequent or rare: many as the result of grazing.

Leontodon taraxacoides (Lesser Hawkbit) was near the boathouse at SK07002260


Sheep-grazing is permitted around most of the Reservoir margins and has had a devasting effect on the Flora; most of the herbage had been devoured. Where sheep have been excluded, for instance on the east side of Tad Bay, grazing by bird-life becomes more evident (and appreciable). It was not clear what the latter's preferences are, except that the presence of but a single scrap of Rumex maritimus may have been significant in this respect.


We are grateful to Graham Harrison and Andy Mabbett of the West Midland Bird Club for their advice and to Tim Fletcher and Steve Blower of South Staffordshire Water for permitting and facilitating our access to the site.

John E. Hawksford
Ian J. Hopkins

Our thanks to John and Ian.

[1^] s.l. stands for sensu lato and means "in a loose sense" and is used when there are one or two other less-common species very similar to the one cited (in this case just one other — Ranunculus peltatus, Pond Water-crowfoot) and it is not possible to decide which it is.

[2^], [3^] s.s. stands for sensu stricto and means "in the strict sense" and is used when it is certain which of the aforementioned group that it is.

Blithfield is a 800-acre (324 hectare) drinking-water supply reservoir, situated to the West of Abbotts Bromley in Staffordshire, England, at SK0524 *.

© West Midland Bird Club, 147 World's End Lane, Birmingham, England B32 1JX
Registered charity, number 213311

Ornithology in Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire & the West Midlands county, since 1929.

Fetched from http://www.westmidlandbirdclub.com/blithfield/plants20060815.htm on Wednesday 16 April 2014 14:21:31

Bookmark with:

What are these?


(* We remind you that these are other organisations' sites and that we accept no responsibility for their content)