Welcome to Prestwood Nature

Plants to look out for in April

by Karen van Oostrum

Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)

In May last year I did a spotlight on 4 species of buttercup (click here to see the article). The lesser celandine, a close relative, brightens our banks and verges earlier in the year, generally flowering from March through to the end of May. This is a good month or more earlier than the buttercups – so flowering time is one way to tell these similar-looking plants apart.

The other way to tell them apart is to get to know their flowers and foliage. Lesser celandine flowers have more petals than the buttercups – somewhere between 7 and 12, as opposed to the usual 5 of the buttercup. The shape of the petal differs too, being longer and narrower in the celandine. Conversely, these flowers have fewer sepals – a consistent 3, rather than the 5 of the buttercup. Leaf shape differs too, being roughly heart-shaped (‘cordate’) unlike the divided leaves of the buttercups.

 What are those plants with leaves like rhubarb?

This is a good question, which I’m asked from time to time, and there are several candidates. I’m going to focus on 3 of them here – all members of the Daisy family (Asteraceae). The first 2 species (Colt’s-foot and Butterbur) are in flower now, and they are native to Britain.  (Click here for more …)

Prestwood Nature
Work Parties

With the Corvid-19 regulations being relaxed,  we can now start again with work parties on each of our sites. Proper social distancing will be maintained.

Work parties currently planned are:

Thursday 8th April,  10:00-12:00 at the Pollinator Friendly Garden

Sunday 18th April 10:00 - 13:00 at Angling Spring Wood

Sunday 25th April 10:00 - 13:00 at Boug’s Meadow

If you haven’t been on one of our work parties before and would like to join in, send us a message on our “Contact us” page or email Vanessa at chair@prestwoodnature.org

Bumblees in April - by John Catton

Bumblebee queens are generally the first to emerge from their hibernation - hairy bodies giving them the edge over other insects. The earliest, to be seen in February, is our commonest, the Buff tailed, followed in March by the eponymous White tailed and Red tailed.

In April expect to see the other common species: Garden (she has a second yellow band on her thorax), Common Carder (all over ginger colour) and the Tree (distinctive ginger thorax, black abdomen and white tail).

Solitary Bees in April - by John Catton

90% of all bees are “solitary”. Here in the UK we have about 220 species; they don’t live in colonies headed by a queen or produce honey. The earliest species you’ll  see is the distinctive Hairy footed Flower Bee, the female is all black, very hairy and can be easily be mistaken for small bumblebee (The male is larger and brown).

Another, instantly recognisable, is the Tawney Mining Bee, about the size of a honeybee but with lovely foxy red hair.  It’s a mining bee, one of 65 species, the largest genus of bee in the UK.  A third solitary bee, on the wing from April to early June, is the Red Mason Bee. It’s a major pollinator of apple blossom and will definitely be one of the residents in your bee hotel!  

Our Next Zoom Meeting will be on Tuesday 20th April:  7:30 pm

Enjoying the Outdoors for all the Family” by Karen van Oostrum

A link to the meeting will be emailed to all Prestwood Nature members

Photos of Garden Bumble and Tawney Mining Bee © Bumble Conservation Trust

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