Showing posts from September, 2019

Stoke, Isle of Grain, Kent - 26/06/19

My recording this day took me close to the Isle of Grain, a bleak area of north Kent bordering the Thames and Medway estuaries. Stoke overlooks the Medway estuary and is a tiny village just off the very busy A228. My first plant of interest was, for a change, a grass.    This looks like the very common Wall Barley, the plant whose seed heads are pulled off to make a dart. Kids then throw these darts at each other. Hordeum marinum However, this isn't Wall Barley. It looked different, being shorter, smaller and with the awns (bristles) spread much wider. It's Sea Barley, a Kent RPR species. I had found this last year in thousands at Allhallows a few miles away not far from salt water. These plants weren't close to salt water at all but on a salted road verge of the A228. I wonder if, in time, they will spread around the country in the same way as Lesser Sea Spurrey, Grass Leaved Orache  and Danish Scurvygrass? On a field edge by the road I fo

Lizard Orchid comes to Longfield, Kent - 14/06/19

The recent spread of the Lizard Orchid has been well documented with a new site in Chelsfield in Metropolitan Kent and another new site in Essex being recently recorded. It's also moving north with reports around other parts of southern England coming in. However, when you go out for a walk close to your home and it's a walk you've made numerous times before, you don't expect to find a 3 foot tall flowering Lizard Orchid spike, but this day I did. How can such a large and rare plant not be seen? I guess the answer in this case is that this was growing on a strip of land owned by the railways. It was fenced off against rabbits but not people (no barbed wire), though locals tended not to bother going there due to this fence. There was a second barbed wire fence keeping you off the railway before anyone asks! Of course, being a botanist I had a peek and was looking to put a Bee Orchid record into this monad. I had walked this area many times from 2013 to the presen

West Kent - 09/06/19

The following plants are from the Chiddingstone and Cowden area of West Kent from early June and on this visit there were some insects as well that allowed me to take their portraits. These areas have both acid and alkaline areas and in the former Foxgloves were relatively commonplace. Digitalis purpurea The Geranium family were well represented with many species found. This one is Hedgerow Cranesbill, which has the largest flowers of our native Geraniums. Geranium pyrenaicum Perhaps my second most favourite wild Geranium is Shining Cranesbill with its bright pink flowers and foliage that reddens as it ages (my favourite is Little Robin). Geranium lucidum These bright orange beetles called Cardinal Beetles, always seem to look as though they are balancing somewhere highly precarious and that they are about to fall off. This one was no exception... Willowherbs can be diffi