Cotton Wood


wood1Cotton Wood is a narrow band of woodland along a north-facing slope above the Dane Meadow area. It can be accessed by a newly-improved footpath from the west side of Bramhall Drive. The wood itself can be accessed along little-used paths that traverse steep and uneven ground. A ditch forms its northern border with the Dane Meadow flood plain, and gardens back on to its southern edge. Cotton Wood is an example of a semi-natural woodland, one naturally regenerated from local trees and shrubs. This steep piece of land was probably too difficult to manage and was therefore left to be colonised by rough scrub and later by trees. The dominant tree species here is sycamore.


Flora of Cotton Wood 

The flora of Cotton Wood is limited to a few species of plants because of the amount of shade cast by the trees for much of the year. An initial survey revealed the presence of the following plants:

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Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
Saxifrage (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium) and Lesser Celandine   (Ranunculus ficaria)
Holly is an evergreen small tree or shrub usually found growing on   drier, sandy soil. Holly is dioecious, where male and female flowers occur on   different trees. Flowers are white with four petals. Once pollinated by   insects, female flowers develop into scarlet berries, which can remain on the   tree throughout winter Opposite-leaved golden saxifrage is a small slightly hairy creeping   plant with greenish flowers surrounded by bright yellow leafy bracts. In the   wood it can be seen growing in damp ditches throughout the year. Growing in   close proximity here is Lesser Celandine, one of the first woodland flowers   of the year. It bears bright yellow blooms above dark green glossy foliage.
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Lords and Ladies (Arum maculatum)
Male Fern (Dryopteris filix-mas)
Lords and ladies or cuckoo pint is a common woodland plant. It is   easily identified by its fresh green leaves that emerge in early spring and   by the bright orange berries later in the year. It is pollinated by tiny   flies attracted by a strong odour produced in the flower. Found in many parts   of the wood, the plant, is best avoided as it contains poisons similar to   those found in rhubarb leaves. Male fern is a common plant of woods and other shady places. It is   semi-deciduous in that some or all of the leaves or fronds die back in the   autumn and re-emerge in the spring, unfurling from the middle to produce a   rosette of leaves. Tiny spores are carried on the underside of the fronds.   After dispersal, they produce new fern plants involving a complicated life   cycle.
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Pendulous Sedge (Carex pendula)
Ivy (Hedera helix)
Pendulous sedge is a large clump-forming plant with hanging flower   heads resembling catkins. This species like other sedges has typically   elongated leaves that are triangular in cross section. In Cotton Wood   pendulous sedge is found in several places where the ground is especially   damp. Ivy is one of the more common species of plants in the wood. It is a   dominant   ground cover as well as a   creeper on the trunks of mature trees. As an evergreen, ivy is a valuable   plant for the berries it produces and the shelter it offers many bird   species. Ivy is also unusual because the young and mature plants of the   species differ. Mature plants have more rounded leaves borne on spreading   branches. It is here that the fruit are produced.
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Hazel by ditch
Bramble (Rubus fruticosus)
Hazel catkins (Corylus avellana)
Species List

Sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus

Pedunculate oak Quercus robur

Alder Alnus glutinosa

Ash Fraxinus excelsior

Elder Sambucus nigra

Holly Ilex aquifolium

Mountain ash Sorbus aucuparia

Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna

Hazel Corylus avellana

Sweet chestnut Castanea sativa

Other plants

Ivy Hedera helix

Wood avens Geum urbanum

Bramble Rubus fruticosus

Male fern Dryopteris filix-mas

Rhododendron R.ponticum

Red campion Silene dioica

Dead-nettle sp Lamium sp

Raspberry Rubus idaeus

Dog rose Rosa canina

Lords and ladies Arum maculatum

Laurel Prunus laurocerasus

Blue bell Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Annual meadow grass Poa annua

Pendulous sedge Carex pendula

Ramsons Allium ursinum






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