Cheshire versus Cambridgeshire

The December issue of British and Irish Botany has an article on cooccurring plant species, with one group being the ubiquitous species. There is a list of the 30 most widespread (by count of tetrads) species in Cambridgeshire, so I’m taking the opportunity to compare this with my records from Cheshire. (I don’t cover the whole of Cheshire; I’ve recorded in around 280 tetrads, with a core of around 60.)

The Cambridgeshire species are

  1. Achillea millefolium
  2. Anisantha sterilis
  3. Anthriscus sylvestris
  4. Arrhenatherum elatius
  5. Capsella bursa-pastoris
  6. Cirsium arvense
  7. Cirsium vulgare
  8. Convolvulus arvensis
  9. Crataegus monogyna
  10. Dactylis glomerata
  11. Elytrigia repens
  12. Galium aparine
  13. Glechoma hederacea
  14. Helminthotheca echioides
  15. Heracleum sphondylium
  16. Jacobaea vulgaris
  17. Lamium album
  18. Lolium perenne
  19. Malva sylvestris
  20. Plantago lanceolata
  21. Plantago major
  22. Poa annua
  23. Potentilla reptans
  24. Ranunculus repens
  25. Rumex obtusifolius
  26. Sambucus nigra
  27. Senecio vulgaris
  28. Sonchus asper
  29. Taraxacum agg.
  30. Urtica dioica

The Cheshire species are

  1. Acer pseudoplatanus
  2. Achillea millefolium
  3. Alliaria petiolata
  4. Anthriscus sylvestris
  5. Bellis perennis
  6. Centaurea nigra
  7. Cirsium arvense
  8. Cirsium vulgare
  9. Dactylis glomerata
  10. Dryopteris filix-mas
  11. Epilobium hirsutum
  12. Fraxinus excelsior
  13. Galium aparine
  14. Geranium robertianum
  15. Geum urbanum
  16. Hedera helix agg.
  17. Heracleum sphondylium
  18. Ilex aquifolium
  19. Jacobaea vulgaris
  20. Plantago lanceolata
  21. Plantago major
  22. Quercus robur
  23. Ranunculus repens
  24. Rubus fruticosus agg.
  25. Rumex obtusifolius
  26. Sambucus nigra
  27. Senecio vulgaris
  28. Sonchus asper
  29. Taraxacum agg.
  30. Urtica dioica

17 taxa are in both lists: Achillea millifolium, Anthriscus sylvestris, Arrhenatherum elatius, Cirsium arvense, Cirsium vulgare, Dactylis glomerata, Galium aparine, Heracleum sphondylium, Jacobaea vulgaris, Plantago lanceolata, Plantago major, Ranunculus repens, Rumex obtusifolius, Sambucus nigra, Senecio vulgaris, Sonchus asper, Taraxacum agg. and Urtica dioica.

Those only in the Cambridgeshire list are Anisantha sterilis, Capsella bursa-pastoris, Convolvulus arvensis, Crataegus monogyna, Elytrigia repens, Glechoma hederacea, Helminthotheca echioides, Lamium album, Lolium perenne, Malva sylvestris, Poa annua and Potentilla reptans.

Those only in the Cheshire list are Acer pseudoplatanus, Alliaria petiolata, Bellis perennis, Centaurea nigra, Dryopteris filix-mas, Epilobium hirsutum, Fraxinus excelsior, Geranium robertianum
Geum urbanum, Hedera helix agg., Quercus robur and Rubus fruticosus agg.

Some of the taxa not in both lists are still common in both counties; I think that while Cheshire is not a particularly well-wooded county it is more so that Cambridgeshire, and that results in the replacement of some grassland and arable species by some woodland species. Similarly Cheshire has a lot of pasture, so may have lower frequencies of arable species that Cambridgeshire.

Helminthotheca echioides is rare, but increasing, in Cheshire. Convolvulus arvensis is rare - but quite persistent on individual sites. Glechoma hederacea is a frequent element of the woodland ground flora, but is well short of ubiquitous. Lamium album, Malva sylvestris and Potentilla reptans are also reasonably frequent but not ubiquitous. Poa annua and Crataegus monogyna are just short of the top 30, with the others lying in between.

In the other direction, several of the taxa in the Cheshire list are not mentioned in the paper, but the only one that seems to be at all infrequent is Dryopteris filix-mas.

an interesting summary. The web does not fully appreciate the search term co-occurrence and where it does we have to pay for browsing. Here’s an old freebe.
In which " plant species may modify soil texture, nutrient level, water availability and chemistry and thereby affect the composition of local communities" appears (I haven’t read it all)

Would you like to have a go at this with some of the ispot data, I can chop it by vc and quite possibly by tetrad too.

Here is a bit of ispot plant data, note the rather odd scale as this covers all tetrads across UK and the full range of number of taxa per tetrad.

This shows 2x2km squares dark meaning few species, and 10x10 km squares with darker red being more species. It shows lots of squares with no plant monitoring on ispot at all. The main areas of monitoring are urban areas and popular holiday areas, as might be expected although some keen people could make a big impact here by their recordings in other areas.