The NVC Garden

1. Aim
The aim is to help students (and other visitors to the garden) to identify key species that indicate several different woodland communities, based on the National Vegetation Classification (NVC).

These beds demonstrate NVC communities W8,W9, W10, W11, W16 and W17, together with wetland and ancient woodland indicators. Higher plants and fern species of the field layer are included, and representative shrubs (so far as space allows), but not the larger tree species.

2. The National Vegetation Classification System
The National Vegetation Classification (NVC) provides a framework for understanding the diversity of ecological communities within British vegetation. It was developed in the 1970s, based on systematic recording of stands of vegetation that were relatively homogenous in composition and structure. Altogether 263 main vegetation communities are now recognised within the system (ranging from maritime, through grasslands, heaths and forests, up to montane) of which 25 are types of woodland or scrub. There are also sub-communities within many of these communities, though these sub-communities have not been distinguished as separate entities in this Woodland Garden.

Please note that the comments and floristic lists given here are generalisations, for much fuller details of all the woodland communities together with methodology of defining and using them, see Rodwell (1991) 1.

3. NVC Woodland Communities represented

a) an overview

These woodland communities were selected to represent a range of soil types from base rich (W8 and W9) through low base status (W10 and W11) to acid soils (W16 and W17), together with climatic zones from the warmer southerly (W8, W10, W16) to contrast with cooler northerly regions (W9, W11, W17).

W8 Fraxinus excelsior – Acer campestre – Mercurialis perennis woodland.
Soil type: rendzinas and brown calcareous earth. Climatic type: warm and dry South-Eastern lowland zone.

W9 Fraxinus excelsior – Sorbus aucuparia – Mercurialis perennis woodland.
Soil type: rendzinas and brown calcareous earth. Climatic type: cool and wet North-Western sub-montane zone.

W10 Quercus robur – Pteridium aquilinum – Rubus fruticosus woodland.
Soil type: brown earths of low base status. Climatic type: warm and dry South-Eastern lowland zone.

W11 Quercus petraea – Betula pubescens – Oxalis acetosella woodland.
Soil type: brown earths of low base status. Climatic type: cool and wet North-Western sub-montane zone.

W16 Quercus spp. – Betula spp. – Deschampsia flexuosa woodland.
Soil type: rankers, brown podzolic soils and podzols. Climatic type: warm and dry South-Eastern lowland zone.

W17 Quercus petraea – Betula pubescens – Dicranum majus woodland.
Soil type: rankers, brown podzolic soils and podzols. Climatic type: cool and wet North-Western sub-montane zone.

Ancient woodlands
Ancient woodland is defined as one that has been under continuous woodland cover for at least 400 years.

b) Species composition typical of each woodland community, apart from major tree species

It should be stressed that the presence or absence of any particular species does not necessarily define a woodland community. Further, to quote Rodwell (1991), “What defines a community as unique (is) rarely just the plants used to name it, but the particular combination of frequency and abundance values for all the species found in the samples”. In other words the lists of species given below must be used with caution: one bluebell does not necessarily indicate an ancient woodland site, but the combination of several species present may possibly do so.

Please note these woodland indicator beds do not include all the species listed, and some species present in the beds do not appear on the list.

W8 Fraxinus excelsior – Acer campestre – Mercurialis perennis woodland

General comments: F. excelsior dominant, with occasional Quercus and other large tree spp. A. campestre and Corylus avellana frequent in understory with occasional Euonymus europaeus. Field layer strongly vernal with Mercurialis perennis, Hyacinthoides non-scripta, Anemone nemorosa or Allium ursinum. Ferns and bryophytes often sparse.

Shrub/small tree layer:

Acer campestre field maple masarnen fach2
Corylus avellana hazel collen
Euonymus europaeus spindle piswydden
Ilex aquifolium holly celynnen
Ligustrum vulgare wild privet yswydden

Field layer:

Allium ursinum  wild garlic craf y geifr
Ajuga reptans bugle glesyn y coed
Anemone nemorosa  wood anemone blodyn y gwynt
Arum maculatum lords and ladies pidyn y gog
Brachypodium sylvaticum false brome breichwellt y coed
Carex sylvatica wood sedge hesgen y coed
Carex pendula pendulous sedge hesgen bendrom
Chrysosplenium oppositifolium opposite-leaved golden saxifrage eglyn cyferbynddail
Circaea lutetiana  enchanters nightshade llysiau steffan
Deschampsia cespitosa tufted hair-grass brigwellt garw
Digitalis purpurea foxglove bysedd y cwn
Dryopteris dilatata broad buckler fern marchredynen lydan
Galium odoratum woodruff  briwydd bêr
Geum urbanum herb Bennet mapgoll
Glechoma hederacea ground ivy eidral
Hedera helix ivy iorwg
Hyacinthoides non-scripta bluebell clychau’r gog
Luzula sylvatica great woodrush coedfrwynen fawr
Lysimachia nemorum yellow pimpernel gwlydd melyn mair
Mercurialis perennis dog’s mercury bresych y cwn
Oxalis acetosella wood sorrel  suran-y-coed
Paris quadrifolia herb Paris cwlwm cariad 
Phyllitis scolependrium hartstongue fern  tafod yr hydd
Polystichum setiferum soft shield fern gwrychredynen feddal
Potentilla sterilis barren strawberry llwyn coegfefus
Primula veris cowslip briallen Fair
Primula vulgaris primrose briallen
Ranunculus repens creeping buttercup blodyn ymenyn-ymlusgol
Rubus fruticosus  blackberry  llwyn mwyar duan
Rubus idaeus raspberry llwyn mafon
Sanicula europaea  sanicle clust y arth
Silene dioica red campion blodyn taranau
Stachys sylvatica hedge woundwort briwlys y gwrych
Stellaria holostea greater stitchwort serenllys mawr
Teucrium scorodonia  wood sage chwerwlys yr eithin
Urtica dioica stinging nettle danadl poethion
Veronica chamaedrys germander speedwell llygad doli
Veronica montana wood speedwell rhwyddlwyn y coed
Viola riviniana dog violet  fioled gyffredin

W9 Fraxinus excelsior – Sorbus aucuparia – Mercurialis perennis woodland.

General comments: F. excelsior, S. aucuparia, and Betula pubescens frequent, with occasional other tree spp. Field layer with frequent Oxalis acetosella, Viola riviniana and Athyrium filix-femina.

Shrub/small tree layer:

Betula pubescens  downy birch bedwen lwyd
Corylus avellana hazel collen
Crataegus monogyna hawthorn draenen wen
Ilex aquifolium holly celynnen
Ligustrum vulgare  wild privet yswydden
Sorbus aucuparia rowan criafolen

Field layer:

Allium ursinum  wild garlic  craf y geifr
Ajuga reptans  bugle glesyn y coed
Anemone nemorosa  wood anemone   blodyn y gwynt
Athyrium filix-femina  lady fern rhedynen Fair
Arum maculatum lords and ladies pidyn y gog
Brachypodium sylvaticum false brome breichwellt y coed
Chrysosplenium oppositifolium opposite-leaved golden saxifrage eglyn cyferbynddail
Circaea lutetiana enchanters nightshade llysiau Steffan
Deschampsia cespitosa tufted-hair-grass brigwellt garw
Digitalis purpurea  foxglove bysedd y cwn
Dryopteris dilatata broad buckler fern marchredynen lydan
Dryopteris affinis scaly male fern marchredynen euraid
Dryopteris filix-mas male fern marchredynen gyffredin
Geranium robertianum herb Robert llys y llwynog
Geum urbanum herb Bennet mapgoll
Hedera helix  ivy iorwg
Hyacinthoides non-scripta bluebell clychau’r gog
Lamiastrum galeobdolon yellow archangel marddanhadlen felen
Luzula sylvatica great woodrush coedfrwynen fawr
Lysimachia nemorum yellow pimpernel  gwlydd melyn Mair
Mercurialis perennis dog’s mercury bresych y cwn
Oxalis acetosella  wood sorrel  uran-y-coed
Phyllitis scolependrium harts tongue fern tafod yr hydd
Potentilla sterilis barren strawberry llwyn coegfefus
Primula vulgaris primrose briallen
Ranunculus ficaria  lesser celandine llygad ebrill
Ranunculus repens creeping buttercup blodyn-ymenyn-ymlusgol
Rubus fruticosus  blackberry  llwyn mwyar duan
Rubus idaeus raspberry llwyn mafon
Sanicula europaea  sanicle clust y arth
Silene dioica red campion blodyn taranau
Stachys sylvatica hedge woundwort briwlys y gwrych
Stellaria holostea greater stitchwort serenllys mawr
Teucrium scorodonia  wood sage chwerwlys yr eithin
Urtica dioica stinging nettle danadl poethion
Veronica chamaedrys germander speedwell llygad doli
Veronica montana wood speedwell rhwyddlwyn y coed
Viola riviniana dog violet  fioled gyffredin

W10 Quercus robur – Pteridium aquilinum – Rubus fruticosus woodland.

General comments: Q. robur dominant, with frequent Betula pendula and other tree spp. Corylus avellana and Crataegus monogyna the most frequent shrubs. Field layer dominated by diverse mixtures of Rubus fruticosus, Pteridium aquilinum, and Lonicera peryclymenum. Hyacinthoides non-scripta dominant in field layer.

Shrub/small tree layer:

Betula pendula silver birch bedwen arian
Corylus avellana hazel collen
Crataegus monogyna hawthorn draenen wen
Ilex aquifolium holly celynnen
Ligustrum vulgare  wild privet yswydden
Sorbus aucuparia rowan criafolen

Field layer:

Ajuga reptans  bugle glesyn y coed
Anemone nemorosa  wood anemone   blodyn y gwynt
Brachypodium sylvaticum false brome breichwellt y coed
Carex sylvatica wood sedge hesgen y coed
Circaea lutetiana enchanters nightshade llysiau Steffan
Conopodium majus pignut cnau’r ddaear
Deschampsia cespitosa tufted-hair-grass brigwellt garw
Digitalis purpurea  foxglove bysedd y cwn
Dryopteris dilatata broad buckler fern marchredynen lydan
Dryopteris filix-mas male fern marchredynen gyffredin
Galium odoratum woodruff briwydd bêr
Geum urbanum ground ivy eidral
Holcus mollis creeping softgrass maswellt rhedegog
Hyacinthoides non-scripta bluebell clychau’r gog
Lonicera periclymenum honeysuckle gwyddfid
Luzula sylvatica great woodrush coedfrwynen fawr
Luzula pilosa hairy woodrush coedfrwynen flewog
Lysimachia nemorum yellow pimpernel  gwlydd melyn Mair
Mercurialis perennis dog’s mercury bresych y cwn
Oxalis acetosella  wood sorrel  uran-y-coed
Primula vulgaris primrose briallen
Pteridum aquilinum bracken rhedynen ungoes
Mercurialis perennis dog’s mercury bresych y cwn
Ranunculus ficaria  lesser celandine llygad ebrill
Ranunculus repens creeping buttercup blodyn-ymenyn-ymlusgol
Rubus fruticosus  blackberry  llwyn mwyar duan
Rubus idaeus raspberry llwyn mafon
Sanicula europaea  sanicle clust y arth
Silene dioica red campion blodyn taranau
Stachys sylvatica hedge woundwort briwlys y gwrych
Stellaria holostea greater stitchwort serenllys mawr
Teucrium scorodonia  wood sage chwerwlys yr eithin
Urtica dioica stinging nettle danadl poethion
Veronica chamaedrys germander speedwell llygad doli
Viola riviniana dog violet  fioled gyffredin

W11 Quercus petraea – Betula pubescens – Oxalis acetosella woodland.

General comments: Q. petraea often co-dominant with B. pubescens, and Corylus avellana frequent. Field layer with frequent Hyacinthoides non-scripta, often with underscrub of Rubus fruticosus, Lonicera periclymenum, Dryopteris dilatata and D. affinis.

Shrub/small tree layer:

Betula pubescens downy birch bedwen lwyd
Corylus avellana hazel collen
Crataegus monogyna hawthorn draenen wen
Ilex aquifolium holly celynnen
Sorbus aucuparia rowan criafolen

Field layer:

Agrostis canina montana brown bent maeswellt-y-cwn y mynydd
Agrostis capillaris

common bent

maeswellt cyffredin
Ajuga reptans  bugle glesyn y coed
Anemone nemorosa  wood anemone   blodyn y gwynt
Anthoxanthum odoratum

sweet vernal grass

perwellt y gwanwyn
Blechnum spicant hard fern gwibredynen
Brachypodium sylvaticum false brome breichwellt y coed
Conopodium majus pignut cnau’r ddaear
Deschampsia flexuosa wavy hair-grass brigwellt main
Digitalis purpurea  foxglove bysedd y cwn
Dryopteris affinis scaly male fern marchredynen euraid
Dryopteris dilatata broad buckler fern marchredynen lydan
Dryopteris filix-mas male fern marchredynen gyffredin
Galium saxatile heath bedstraw briwydd wen
Geum urbanum ground ivy eidral
Holcus mollis creeping softgrass maswellt rhedegog
Hyacinthoides non-scripta bluebell clychau’r gog
Lonicera periclymenum honeysuckle gwyddfid
Luzula sylvatica great woodrush coedfrwynen fawr
Luzula pilosa hairy woodrush coedfrwynen flewog
Lysimachia nemorum yellow pimpernel  gwlydd melyn Mair
Oxalis acetosella  wood sorrel  uran-y-coed
Potentilla erecta tormentil tresgl y moch
Primula vulgaris primrose briallen
Pteridum aquilinum bracken rhedynen ungoes
Ranunculus repens creeping buttercup blodyn-ymenyn-ymlusgol
Rubus fruticosus  blackberry  llwyn mwyar duan
Rubus idaeus raspberry llwyn mafon
Silene dioica red campion blodyn taranau
Stellaria holostea greater stitchwort serenllys mawr
Teucrium scorodonia  wood sage chwerwlys yr eithin
Veronica chamaedrys germander speedwell llygad doli
Viola riviniana dog violet  fioled gyffredin

W16 Quercus spp. – Betula spp. – Deschampsia flexuosa woodland.

General comments: Q. petraea and/or Q. robur, B. pendula and/or B. pubescens dominant, with Sorbus aucuparia occasional to frequent. Deschampsia flexuosa and Pteridium aquilinum frequent in field layer.

Shrub/small tree layer:

Betula pendula silver birch bedwen arian
Betula pubescens downy birch bedwen lwyd
Corylus avellana hazel collen
Crataegus monogyna hawthorn draenen wen
Frangula alnus alder buckthorn breuwydd
Ilex aquifolium holly celynnen
Sorbus aucuparia rowan criafolen

Field layer:

Blechnum spicant hard fern gwibredynen
Calluna vulgaris heather grug
Conopodium majus pignut cnau’r ddaear
Deschampsia flexuosa wavy hair-grass brigwellt main
Digitalis purpurea  foxglove bysedd y cwn
Dryopteris dilatata broad buckler fern marchredynen lydan
Galium saxatile heath bedstraw briwydd wen
Hedera helix ivy iorwg
Hyacinthoides non-scripta bluebell clychau’r gog
Lonicera periclymenum honeysuckle gwyddfid
Luzula sylvatica great woodrush coedfrwynen fawr
Melampyrum pratense common cowwheat coedfrwynen flewog
Oxalis acetosella  wood sorrel  uran-y-coed
Potentilla erecta tormentil tresgl y moch
Pteridum aquilinum bracken rhedynen ungoes
Teucrium scorodonia  wood sage chwerwlys yr eithin
Vaccinium myrtillus bilberry llus

W17 Quercus petraea – Betula pubescens – Dicranum majus woodland

General comments: Q. petraea and/or B. pubescens dominant, with Sorbus aucuparia, Corylus avellana and Ilex aquifolium the most frequent associates. Field layer sometimes sparse, but with Deschampsia flexuosa constant, and Pteridium aquilinum, Vaccinium myrtillus and Oxalis acetosella frequent.

Shrub/small tree layer:

Betula pubescens downy birch bedwen lwyd
Corylus avellana hazel collen
Crataegus monogyna hawthorn draenen wen
Ilex aquifolium holly celynnen
Sorbus aucuparia rowan criafolen

Field layer:

Agrostis canina velvet bent maewellt y cwn
Agrostis capillaris

common bent

maeswellt cyffredin
Anemone nemorosa  wood anemone   blodyn y gwynt
Anthoxanthum odoratum

sweet vernal grass

perwellt y gwanwyn
Blechnum spicant hard fern gwibredynen
Calluna vulgaris heather grug
Deschampsia flexuosa wavy hair-grass brigwellt main
Digitalis purpurea  foxglove bysedd y cwn
Dryopteris affinis scaly male fern marchredynen euraid
Dryopteris dilatata broad buckler fern marchredynen lydan
Dryopteris filix-mas male fern marchredynen gyffredin
Galium saxatile heath bedstraw briwydd wen
Festuca ovina sheep’s fescue     peidwellt y defaid
Hedera helix ivy iorwg
Holcus mollis creeping softgrass maswellt rhedegog
Hyacinthoides non-scripta bluebell clychau’r gog
Lonicera periclymenum honeysuckle gwyddfid
Luzula sylvatica great woodrush coedfrwynen fawr
Lysimachia nemorum yellow pimpernel  gwlydd melyn Mair
Melampyrum pratense common cowwheat coedfrwynen flewog
Molinia caerulea purple moor grass glaswellt y gweunydd
Oxalis acetosella  wood sorrel  uran-y-coed
Potentilla erecta tormentil tresgl y moch
Primula vulgaris primrose briallen
Pteridum aquilinum bracken rhedynen ungoes
Rubus fruticosus  blackberry  llwyn mwyar duan
Rubus idaeus raspberry llwyn mafon
Teucrium scorodonia  wood sage chwerwlys yr eithin
Vaccinium myrtillus bilberry llus
Viola riviniana dog violet  fioled gyffredin

Wetland areas of woodland

Shrub/small tree layer:

Alnus glutinosa alder gwernen
Salix caprea goat willow helygen ddeilgron

Field layer:
Angelica sylvestris  angelica llysiau’r angel
Athyrium filix-femina  lady fern rhedynen fair
Calamagrostis epigejos wood small reed  corsen fach y coed
Caltha palustris  marsh marigold gold y gors
Carex acutiformis lesser pond-sedge hesgen y-dwr fach
Carex elata  tufted-sedge hesgen duswog
Carex paniculata greater tussock-sedge hesgen rafunog fawr
Chrysosplenium oppositifolium opposite-leaved golden saxifrage eglyn cyferbynddail
Cirsium palustre marsh thistle ysgallen y gors
Eupatorium cannabinum hemp agrimony byddon chwerw
Filipendula ulmaria meadowsweet erwain
Geum rivale water avens mapgoll glan y dwr
Iris pseudacorus  yellow flag iris gellesgen
Lycopus europaeus gypsywort llysiau’r sipsiwn
Lysimachia vulgaris yellow loosestrife trewyn
Lythrum salicaria purple loosestrife llysiau’r milwr coch
Succisa pratensis  devil’s bit scabious tamaid y cythraul
Thelypteris palustris marsh fern redynen y gors
Valeriana officinalis  common valerian triaglog

Ancient woodland species

General comments: Species indicating ancient woodland vary with soil type and climatic zones; several of those included below are limited in their geographic distribution. (also please see last sentence on p.2)

Shrub/small tree layer:

Sorbus torminalis wild service tree cerddin

Field layer:
Allium ursinum  wild garlic craf y geifr
Anemone nemorosa  wood anemone blodyn y gwynt
Convallaria majalis lily of the valley lili’r dyffrynoedd
Dryopteris aemula  hay-scented buckler fern marchredynen bêr
Galium odoratum woodruff briwydd bêr
Hyacinthoides non-scripta bluebell clychau’r gog
Luzula sylvatica great woodrush coedfrwynen fawr
Maianthemum bifolium may lily lili mai
Melampyrum pratense common cowwheat coedfrwynen flewog
Orchis mascula early purple orchid tegeirian coch y gwanwyn
Oxalis acetosella  wood sorrel  uran-y-coed
Paris quadrifolia herb Paris cwlwm cariad 
Polygonatum multiflorum Solomon’s seal llysiau’r Solomon
Primula elatior oxlip briallen-fair ddi-sawy
Sanicula europaea wood sanicle clust y arth

1. Rodwell, J.S. (Ed.) (1991. British Plant Communities. Volume 1. Woodlands and Scrub. Cambridge University Press.

2. These Welsh names are the standard names as given in the reference book “Planhigion Blodeuol, Conwydd a Rhedyn”  published by Cymdeithas Edward Llwyd (2003). ISBN 0 952 22641 3.

 

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