Sunday, 9 December 2018

Sheldwich, south of Faversham, Kent - 21/10/18

This trip came about purely by chance. The week before I was out with the family and stopped at Sheldwich church to make a cup of tea from the flask. On driving away I saw what looked like Viper's Bugloss along a road verge, but the flowers were a lot bigger.
So I researched this area and found that Purple Bugloss had previously been recorded here but little else had. Thus a recording trip plan was born!

My planned route took me through 4 under recorded monads. Here are the highlights from that trip.


Borage was commomplace in patches for about 500m along a rural road verge. The usual blue flowers were dominant, but a few white form variants were also present.


Borage
Borago officinalis


Common Centaury
Centaurium erythraea





Crreping Thistle
Cirsium arvense 




















Two of the three usual  thistles were present. I'm sure if I had looked harder, I would have found rosettes of the third one, Marsh Thistle.


















Spear Thistle
Cirsium vulgare




















I dislike using the flash on the camera as it bleaches detail out and incorrectly colourises the image. However, these were growing in such dim light, that a flash was definitely necessary.

















Dead Man's Fingers















Of course, having seen them the week before, I was keen to see the Purple Bugloss up close. There was a road verge along a field edge that ran for around 500m full of them.

Most were pink or purple but a few were white. Mostly, only two long stamens exerted the flower corrolla.













































Here's a Purple Bugloss looking good in company with a Bristly Oxtongue.





Echium plantagineum



Here's a habitat photo for the Purple Bugloss. You can see the line of purple along the road verge.



Tall yellow flowered Melilots can be confusing as there are two species which look very similar. I hope the following photos show you what to look for to determine the differences between Tall and Ribbed Melilot.




 Melitotus officinalis








Forgive me for including four photos of a relatively common plant.







This is Musk Mallow. However, I've seen so few of these beuatiful Mallows this year that an excess of photos can be excused!


Malva moschata



































It's been a few months since I last photographed Field or Early Forget-me-nots. Thus I had forgotten how small and insignificant were their flowers. This is Field Forget-Me-Not.

Check out the hairs on the calyx, upper stem and lower stem to identify them. Flowers and leaves are mostly similar, though flower size helps to pinpoint which species you have found.









Myosotis arvensis




Here are four photos of an alien Oak Tree that you might come across. It's the introduced and now naturalised Turkey Oak. It has a very distinctive acorn cup that can't be mistaken for anything else. In the absence of acorns though, check out the leaves. These look very different from Pedunculate or Sessile Oaks and have very jagged leaves. The mature trees are tall, sturdy, fine looking trees.



Quercus cerris



I recognised the following plant straight away, having seen it at Hosey Common in Kent last year. It's a Gooseberry! Note the spines here and there and the odd shaped leaves. Fruits not required to identify this plant!

Ribes  uva-crispa


Here's another fungi appearing in the short grass of a road verge, the Parasol Toadstool. In a few days these would have opened out into big saucer shaped toadstools.





White Campion
Silene latifolia







Hedge Woundwort
Stachys sylvatica 





























Large Thyme 
Thymus pulegioides



I was then pleasantly surprised to find a flowering native Orpine, a plant I'd known and grown in my youth as an Ice Plant in my garden.  There are a few Orpines found in the wild; this is the native form, told by the truncate base to the leaves (like a straight line at the base).



It was growing in a recently coppiced woodland and not near habitation.


Sedum telephium subsp telephium



















A nice find in a set aside field were a few Alsike Clovers.


































These superficially look like White or Red Clovers with neither species really fitting what you've found.

Note the long flower stalk above the plant with no subtending leaves; the pointed long white with green veined stipules; and the very branched veins on the leaves. Neither Red nor White Clover have these features.









Trifolium hybridum














































A surprise find was Argentinian Vervain, a garden escape. I have found this escaped in other parts of Kent, often nowhere near habitation, so I expect it to be found in significant numbers in the years to come. It seems to have naturalised quite easily in Kent.















Verbena bonariensis




 When you first find a Violet flowering in the Autumn, all sorts of things go through your mind. I know it did with me! However, after the first such shock of finding an early spring flower in the autumn subsides, one finds that research shows such flowering in the autumn to be a common place occurrence. 

It is however, still very pleasing to find a Common Dog Violet in flower in late October, but no longer it is amazing to me!

Viola riviniana





When out recording, it is usual to have one's eyes glued to ground level or just above. There is just the occassional glance upwards to identify a tree found.





















In these planted Lime Trees though was an infestation of Mistletoe; easily missed if the eyes didn't wander upwards from time to time!


Viscum album





































So concluded a wonderful afternoon botanising in East Kent. I hope you liked the highlights. Proof that just because it's late October it's rubbish that there's nothing to be found!

Here's map of my route.



Regards
Dave
@Barbus59

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