The reserve team had a pleasant surprise last week, so its over to Warden Hannah Bernie to tell us more:

If you have ever come across the plant trifid bur-marigold you will know how annoying their seeds are when they get stuck to your clothes!! We have plenty of this plant on cell 5 ( which is a part of the reserve which isn't currently open to the public) However, we were pleasantly surprised when we were out with botanist Owen Mountford and he found nodding bur-marigold. Whats more, this is probably the largest population in Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire! There have been no records in Huntingdonshire since 1974 and it has only been recorded at two other sites in Cambridgeshire (one near the river in Over and on the Lark Washes at Isleham)

Owen told us that elsewhere in the Fens, there are recent records from the Norfolk part of the Welney Washes and the Lakenheath Washes.  Smaller Fenland sites are at Hilgay Poors Fen (Norfolk), Baston Fen (Lincolnshire) and Thorpe Tilney Fen (Lincolnshire).  However, seven sites over the entire Fenland from Lincoln and Skegness down to Cambridge hardly counts as common!

This therefore makes the population at RSPB Ouse Fen of some significance! Nodding bur-marigold is common in wet meadows, near ditches, streams and ponds, especially where they dry out in the summer.

If you are wondering  what nodding bur-marigold looks like, here is a picture of it that wasn't taken at Ouse Fen:

Image credit: Malte via Wikimedia Commons

So there you have it. Although, as stated above, this plant can't currently be seen from reserve paths, it may well be visible on parts of the reserve paths that are open to the public in the future so if you are into your botany, keep your eye out for it!

We hope to see you on the reserve soon.