The Winter Heliotrope Petasites fragrans, long known at King Cross, Halifax, opposite the Fire Station, in the graveyard. We went to find it today and if we bent down the fragrance was gorgeous. We agreed it was almonds we could smell.
A few years ago I came across this patch on the top of the wood above the Elland by-pass, and we found it again this Christmas day, with flowers not yet open. It must have been a garden escape from the adjacent Halifax Zoo, reputed to have had beautiful gardens in the early 20th century, now the pitches of Siddal Rugby Club.
The West Yorkshire Plant Atlas 1994 has only one site for the Calderdale area, and only six others in West Yorkshire, all around Leeds or east of there. It is an alien from the Mediterranean region.
The next flower to look out for is the White Butterbur, Petasites albus, a relative of the above. This we go to find in the Colden Valley from late February - March, a more showy flower, but not scented, and another garden escape, originally from central Europe and the Caucasus.
The first outdoor meeting of the Halifax Scientific Society (all welcome) is on 1st January, meeting 10.30 at Clay House, West Vale, Elland, HX4 8AN for the traditional New Year's Day Bird Count. Meet in front of Clay House. The walk is about 7 miles, through North Dean Woods (the woods are very muddy just now,) round Norland Moor, back by an alternative path through the woods to West Vale before dark. A stop for a sociable picnic will be taken somewhere in the woods - bring a waterproof layer to sit on. We count the number of species seen or heard.