Dartford Heath 4th May 2018

The sandy, poor soil on Dartford Heath supports several interesting and some rare botanical species; some I'd lready found and others which were waiting to surprise me.

Cytisus scoparius / Ulex europaeus

Broom (left) and Gorse (above) are common on the heath and are perhaps the only wildflowers that the ordinary members of the public actually notice, for in the short grasses were thousands of tiny flowers.

I was looking for Upright Chickweed,a very tiny inconspicuous flower that nestles in the grasses unseen. Fortunately, I had found it before so knew where to look.

It's very uncommon to find one with its flower wide open, so I was very fortunate indeed to find one.

Moenchia erecta

All over parts of the heath were the delightful flowers of Birdsfoot. Amazingly for such a brightly coloured flower, these are so small they are all but invisible from a standing height.

In the photo above there are some clover leaves, look how small the Birdsfoot is compared to those leaves.

Ornithopus perpusillus 

Another plant that likes sandy soils is of course, Sand Spurrey, another small, easy to miss plant.

Spergularia rubra

The rare (in Kent) Heath Dog Violet with its bright blue petals adorned a quite small area of the heath

Viola canina 

My last find was a complete surprise. I'd got used to seeing the tiny white dots of upright Chickweed scattered about and almost walked past these little clovers.

I was very pleased to have found a colony of Subterraneum Clover, not found before in this monad (though had been close by). 

Trifolium subterraneum

 It goes to show that even on well known venues, you might find something new or unusual. In addition to the above were a multitude of cranesbills, storksbills and other wildflowers, so go for a walk and see what you can find.



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