Saturday, April 18, 2009

Wall plants

Inland cliffs are a relatively rare habitat in many parts of Britain but man-made walls are equally acceptable for most cliff-dwelling plants. These two species – ivy-leaved toadflax (aka Kenilworth ivy) and yellow corydalis - are currently in flower on walls around Corbridge in Northumberland. Neither are native – both come from continental Europe – but they’re a welcome addition to our wall flora and put on a good display from spring onwards. Both thrive on walls here and ivy-leaved toadflax has a neat trick of developing fruit stalks with an aversion to light, so that they grow into dark wall crevices and deposit their seed there. The corydalis seed capsules simply burst to scatter their seed, but first the flowers need to be pollinated and today this mining bee seems to have been performing that role – does anyone know what species of bee it is?


  1. Don't know what the bee is, but he seems to ne doing a very good job.
    Beautiful pictures again.

  2. Hi Greenfingers. Looks like it could be Osmia rufa, and judging by the pale hairs around the face, i would say it was a male.

  3. Thanks for the ID Dean, checked it against a field guide and you're spot-on. Appreciate your guidance.

    Thanks, holdingmoments. It's amzing how some of these plants manage to survive on walls throughout the summer, when they must suffer from severe drought.