Farningham Woods, Kent - 27/10/17
I was very surprised at the number of flowering plants I found in this stunning wood this day. As there are so many, I'll keep the writing to a minimum and the photographs to the max!
Situated just outside the M25, these woods are an oasis in the urban jungle not too far away. Along the woodland border of the photo below, lives a colony of protected Deptford Pinks.
These are now a rare wildflower and the main flowering period is in the Summer, but I did hope to find the odd straggler in flower still. You can see from the photo that Autumn was in full swing with the leaves now turned into a coppery shimmer in the Autumn breeze. The flowering plants in the photo are of course, Hogweed.
However, I didn't start in this area, so read on to see if I found those elusive wild Pinks still flowering!
These were pink but not the ones I was looking for.
Common Centaury which only fully opens in sunlight, mainly a Summer species, but till a few to be found today.
Many Seeded Goosefoot. Usually a procumbent plant with masses of flowers and seeds along the stems between the leaves.
Trailing St John's Wort, sprawling over the ground in a recently coppiced area of the woodland.
In well trodden paths it is not unusual to find this plant, Pineappleweed. It really does smell of pineapples when you crush it and smell.
Some beautiful Large-flowered Evening Primrose had spread into the coppiced areas and looked stunning.
There are several types of Evening Primrose but these can be easily identified by the stigmas projecting well out past the anthers holding the pollen to prevent self pollination.
It wasn't all flowers though, here's one of several late season Peacocks I saw here.
One of the Inkcap family.
In the damp, shady edges of the woodland paths were lots of these Water-Peppers which are related to Redshank and White Persicaria.
These were in seed, but the flowers are pretty small and easily missed even when out.
In a shady glade was a stand of native Soloman's Seal, a Spring flowering plant, it was now laden with fruits.
A few Creeping Cinquefoils put on a fine, though mini display with their bright bold yellow flowers.
Their stems were snaking across bare ground, making it easy to see the stem nodes putting out roots and runners.
Here's another common plant often overlooked, the Selfheal. It's usually only a few inches tall (as here), though in shady woods I've seen them up to 2 feet tall.
It seemed I was photographing most of the wildflowers I saw this day, here'a a Bramble flower which sometimes come in pink as well.
Rubus fruticosus agg.
Not quite in focus, but this was a very tiny plant. It's Procumbent Pearlwort on a bare path in the wood. Also found in most pavement cracks in most towns!
I found four flowering Ragworts here. This one is Narrow-leaved Ragwort.
The others I found were Common, Hoary and Oxford Ragworts.
How about this for a perfect composition left by nature. I will admit to tidying the scene up for the photo by removing a few leaves and twigs.
Black Nightshade flowered profusely, especially in the coppiced areas.
A Smooth Sowthistle and a very small spider.
Not the best photo, but very late for a flowering Wood Sage. As the name suggests it's found in woods. However, it is also found on chalk grassland, shingle and many other places.
Along the Southern edge of the wood were some fine views towards Farningham village.
Scentless Mayweed was and may still well be, flowering in an arable field edge by the wood.
I found around 30 of these Great Mullein but only a couple left with flowers on.
Nearby was a surprise find of Argentinian Vervain. This was deep in coppiced woodland, so it wasn't fly tipped or introduced. Perhaps it was bird or wind sown?
A Seven Spot Ladybird was quite sluggish in a seeded plant.
A surprise find were numerous Small Nettles. While fairly common, they are often overlooked and taken as normal Stinging Nettles.
These were quite rampant in an arable field by the wood.
Note the points on the leaves are all pretty much equal in length. In normal Nettle the centre point pokes out further than the rest.
These little Nettles pack powerful stings, so be careful!
I found Heath, Wood and Germander Speedwells, though none were in flower, but this Common Field Speedwell was. They will stay in flower for much of the Winter as well.
Sometimes, a seedhead grabs my attention. this was very small, but worthy of a photo. It's the seed capsule split open of Hoary Willowherb.
I found plenty of Deptford Pinks once I got my eye in, spotting the slender stalks through the dying grasses and other plants. However, it took a while to find some still with flowers, but find them I did.
I think that in Kent they are only found in Sandwich in East Kent and here at Farningham Woods in West Kent.
It seems a long time ago now since this trip, though some of the plants are still in flower even after the frosts and snow we had recently. It's been nice to revisit the experience through my blog and I hope you liked it as well.