Summer Wildflower Walk
We focused on two main habitats. In the grassland near the Newland Road entrance we considered how grasses hold soil and store carbon, and we looked at grasses ranging from tall false oat grass to short perennial ryegrass. We also saw other plants such as lucerne, mugwort and ragwort and discussed some of their uses past and present. In the habitats that lie between the hedge around the Cricket Pitch and the Conservation area, we looked at plants ranging from the tiny duckweed on the surface of the ponds to the tall reed sweetgrass. We compared hogweed to cow parsley and also looked at the clusters of spores under a fern frond under a hand lens.
Late Spring Wildflower Walk
Caroline started the walk with a question: are grasses flowering plants? The answer is yes – the flowers are so much less showy because they are wind pollinated and therefore don’t have to advertise their pollen using colour and scent in the way that insect-, bird- and mammal-pollinated flowers do.
mongst the other topics we covered were the way that some leaves are positioned to avoid overlapping to catch the maximum amount of light, how leaves on the same plant can have different shapes and how plants of the same species can vary in size and form depending on where they happen to be growing.
March 2022 Wildflower Walk
Caroline led two walks to look at the wildflowers that are already out and about this year. There was information on identification and lots of interesting background stories on folklore of the plants. We started at the Park Visitor Centre and made our way down to the area where the compost head lies.
Caroline explained the difference between the Lesser Celandine and Greater Celandine which can be both found in the park, but only the Lesser is flowering. They both have yellow flowers, but are unrelated. Lesser Celandine is a relative of the Buttercup whereas Greater Celandine is in the Poppy family.
Stephen led an overflow walk that just concentrated on the identification of the flowers.
Very unlucky with the weather for our wildflower walks in October with the rain trying hard to put us off. No chance, Caroline led a morning and afternoon walk in the south eastern corner of the park. It was impressive the list of plants seen flowering as just a casual look in the park gives one the impression there is nothing much. The largest number of plants flowering were bristly ox-tongues near the cricket pavilion. The picture on the left shows some of hardy afternoon group admiring them. Next time there will be sun.
Caroline led two wildflower walks from the Gas Hut to the cricket scrub via the Lower Road (where there are always some interesting flowers on the south side). She explained some of the ways to tell flowers that are grouped into the same family. The flowers in the daisy family, for example, are not a single flower but many flowers clustered together to look like a single flower. Daisy family species spotted included common fleabane, creeping thistle, Michaelmas daisy, bristly oxtongue, pineapple-weed, common ragwort and knapweed. Red bartsia (a plant in the figwort family that is partially parasitic on grasses) was also spotted, and we all had a look at the fairy’s slippers under the hood of the white deadnettle (in the mint family and therefore unrelated to nettles).
It’s amazing how many plants you can find if you look closely at a stretch of grass or the roadside verges in a park. Caroline and Stephen led three walks and between them found 70-odd species, which included several grasses, and flowers from the cabbage, daisy, dock, mint, rose, and pea families.
Wild Flower Walks - April 2021
In fine weather, but with a cool wind, Caroline led two wild flower walks to give two small groups of people insight into some of the spring flowers found in the park.
Another perfect day for the wildflower walks. We saw a good range of bluebells – native, Spanish, and hybrids that were rather more native or rather more Spanish. There was lots of lesser celandine and chickweed, but only one coltsfoot and just a few common dog-violets.
A sharp-eyed person spotted the flowering part of lords-and-ladies, which looks like a crayon and was in fact what she had used it for as a child. And we compared various leaves – dock with wild garlic, meadow buttercup with creeping buttercup, and nettle with red deadnettle, white deadnettle and black horehound (the latter has a curious smell when pressed).
These walks were so popular that an extra walk was led by Stephen at the other end of the park in the Nature Conservation Area. A list of wild flowers and trees flowering on that walk. Seen at the end of the walk was a young oak apple..... (a type of gall)
Members' Walk: Wild Flowers
A cold and overcast April day for our Spring wild flower walk. An impressive 19 people were present to search for wild flowers and a few native trees.
Members Winter Flower Walk
Good weather for our Flower Walk beginning.... We admired the Snowdrops by Park Information Centre and Hebe with Viburnum tinus before moving off into the Railway Orchard to spot one of the first Cherry Laurels in flower.
Walking along the Lime Avenue we passed a couple of early Lesser Celandines.
Crossing the road we spotted some Cyclamen.
March Members Walk, 2017
On the hunt for wild flowers by the Bedford Road entrance.... Too late for crocuses and snowdrops (still to be seen in The Grove).
What did we see then? Lesser Celandine coming to its peak. Colts Foot, Shepherds Purse and a great favourite the Primrose. To add to flowers on flowers, we also saw flowers on trees Ash Tree, Wych Elm and male and female Goat Willow flowers.
Photo shows people studying the white Sweet Violet flowers.
Members' Wild Flower Walk, July 2016
A lot of people turned up for this walk so maybe it was not such a good experience for those who came....
March 2016 Members Walk
Splendid Spring weather for our Early Spring Wild Flower Walk. About 20 enthusiasts of all ages gathered by the Gas Hut to start our walk.
Walking further along, we came across a small euphorbia called Petty Spurge then we took the steps down towards the Alexandra Park Club. Turning left at the bottom along the old racecourse the group were enjoying the stroll so much that they walked straight past a nice little surprise of some Snowdrops still in flower. A little further along was one last minute female hazel flower.
Turning right along the new path we saw Blackthorn flowering, assuring us of sloes to come, before coming across a nice bunch of Colts Foot growing near the water. A Hawthorn next to it was pointed out which had been flowering since late January.
We reversed past the Nature Pond, and just managed to see one or two Goat Willow flowering and making their common name of pussy willow very evident.
Back at top the leader forgot to point out the White Dead-Nettle(shame).
We then finished by taking our lives in our hands and crossing Alexandra Palace Way. Just over the road is a warm, South facing, grassy slope where we saw the last group of flowers - Scentless Mayweed, Common Chickweed, Sticky Mouse-Ear and Common Whitlow Grass together with Gorse with its vibrant yellow flowers.
Wild Flower Talk, February 2016
We were privileged to have renowned botanist, David Bevan come and talk to the Friends on Wild Flowers of London.
Our speaker explained that the blitz bomb sites post war, with their explosion of new plants, were the spark that enthused a whole generation of London Botanists. One good example that is still to be found in many places is buddleia.
We heard the story of the Oxford Ragwort coming to London by following the train lines. It loved the clinker which was similar to the volcanic stone of its native Mount Etna.
In our borough of Haringey, three species of orchid have been known including the Common Spotted Orchid. Have you ever spotted one?
David mentioned that now is the time to look out for early flowering Colt's Foot (pictured by the cricket pitch).
May 2015 Members Walk
On same day as last year, we held a Wildflower walk starting form the Park Information Centre.
May 2014 Members' Walk