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8:51AM

Not Crassula...

The ditch below is blanketted in another non-native weed, this time the floating fern Azolla filicuiloides producing a mat of green so dense that it can look like solid ground.  The "solidity" is an illusion.  Step on this and you would get very wet feet as the 1-2 cm wide fronds part to expose water below!

This nitrogen-fixing fern is very good at out-competing other species and as the fronds get stressed they take on a red hue so ditches dominated by the plant can take on a startling appearance.  This was starting to happening in sections of this ditch at the weekend.

Fortunately this plant has a weevil that feasts on the fronds so that the dominance of this American invader on our ditches tends to be relatively relatively short-lived

 

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