RSPB Saltholme’s rewilding project in the Tees Valley

It is very exciting to hear Chris Francis from RSPB Saltholme speak about his new rewilding project on Teesside.

Rewilding is gaining momentum as an opportunity to address the climate and biodiversity crisis, but there remains a lack of quantitative evidence detailing the biodiversity and ecosystem services responses in different landscapes. This lack of evidence is particularly acute in post-industrial landscapes, and I propose to study this 100ha site due to be rewilded by RSPB from 2022 in one of the most industrialised area of the UK, with ad hoc monitoring to capture change over time, as natural processes override anthropogenic influence.

Photographs of the hybrid Cymbalaria muralis x C. pallida in Sheffield

Wilcox and Ruhsam (2020) recently identified for the first time putative F1 hybrids of Cymbalaria muralis x C. pallida. They confirmed three (3) plants as this hybrid growing in Northern England, using ITS molecular analysis.

Wilcox, M and Ruhsam, M (2020). The genus Cymbalaria Hill (Toadflaxes) in Britain and the discovery of C. muralis × C. pallida. BSBI News 143, January.

More recently, they confirmed an additional fourth specimen as this hybrid (Mike Wilcox and Marcus Ruhsam, personal communication). The plant grew between cracks of a private front garden wall and the pavement on Greenhow Street, Walkley, in or near SK33108844. The plant was first observed in 2016 and all the pictures below where taken in August and September 2017.

The plant was observed absent in 2018 by myself and not refund in 2019 by Mike Wilcox.

See below for galleries of photos taken in 2017 and associated notes.

  • 3 to 4 long trailing stems up to >60cm
  • Resembling C. muralis in habit
  • Hairy leaves and stems as in C. pallida
  • Tissues fleshy as in C. pallida
  • Fruits and seeds presents
  • Flower length (3 flowers measured, spur length in bracket)
  • 15 (5) mm
  • 14 (4) mm
  • 14 (4.5) mm (flower in bud)
  • C. muralis is frequent on walls in the area
  • C. pallida is occasional on walls and in front gardens nearby, e.g. in Crooks
Comparison of hybrid vs C. muralis flower
Gallery 1: habit observed in situ
Gallery 2: Details observed in situ
Gallery 3: Details of flower, calyx, fruit and seed