Showing posts from May, 2019

Making History with Plants - Littlestone, Kent Coast 27/04/19

Perhaps this blog title is a bit grand, but in effect every botanical record we submit is history in the making and this blog reflects some of the excitement of a new find. After a day out with the family we spent an hour or so on a walk at Littlestone Warren by the sea on the south west coast of Kent. This area is well known for rare plants such as Glabrous Cat's Ear and some rare medicks and I hoped to find some today. We found some of these but also something much more exciting, read on! It didn't take long to find masses of Toothed Medick in flower. The very similar (but hairy) Bur Medick wasn't yet flowering. These really are very small and I teased this one out of the turf to photograph it. I've added some ID tips to the photo. It's nearly always found on the coast on sandy soils, but I have found it in a field edge near Dartford, a relict of wool shoddy from times past. This incredibly tiny Early forget-me-not was just about possible to see from

Botany finds from near Ightam, Kent - 23/04/19

Churches are a great place to start a botanical walk: firstly, there is usually somewhere to park nearby; second there will almost certainly be one or more public footpaths radiating from it and finally, many are semi neglected unimproved grassland habitats, perfect for botany (and insects too). Ightam Church, which lies between Borough Green and Sevenoaks was no exception to this. Some of the churchyard was mown, but most was semi wild and looked a treat. It didn't take long to see its star inhabitant, which was present in good quantity, well over 100 flowering plants in total of: the beautiful Meadow Saxifrage Saxifraga granulata There were plenty of other wildflower about, but this Cornsalad caught my eye. There are a few species but they cannot be told apart until seeds can be examined. It was too early for seeds, so all I can say is that this is a Cornsalad and not which type.  They often grow on waste ground, road verges, pavements, neglected garden

Otford Hills, Sevenoaks, Kent - 21/04/19

These hills form the eastern side of the north downs that are cut in two by the River Darent and its associated valley. The hills are made of chalk and thus any open areas are species rich and well managed woodland comes alive with flowers at this time of the year. Thankfully, I didn't have to walk up any hills as there is a path off the north downs way that takes you to the area without too much exertion. Here's some of what we found this day. The first part of the walk was through woodland which was ablaze with carpets of Bluebells. These native plants were giving off a heady scent on this warm, sunny spring day and we stopped a few times just to take it all in and to re-charge the soul. Hyacinthoides non-scripta We tend to take these sights for granted, but the UK has more carpets of Bluebells than any other country in the world. Quite why that is doesn't seem to be explained anywhere! All the usual woodland plants were in flower, i

East Kent Coast Botany - 20/04/19

This day out covered some nice but easy walks along the North Foreland cliffs and Samphire Hoe on the east coast of Kent. I'll start off with the short walk along the North Foreland which is just to the north of Broadstairs. The footpath runs along a clifftop through a private estate full of big, posh houses. Unknown to me at that time was that the area is home to lots of Lizard Orchids in June. I have to say though that I didn't see any rosettes, which are usually quite obvious.   First up was an arable field edge by the cliff edge where there were plenty of the humble Pineappleweed.  Matricaria discoidea What made this one unusual was that it was fasciated, as were several others in this field. Fasciated stems are produced due to abnormal activity in the growing tip of the plant. Often, an abnormal number of flowers are produced on affected stems and commonly some look like conjoined twins. Splashes of colour along the cliffs were mad