Botanical Assortments from Kent, September to October 2020

 As the year progressed, I took fewer photographs as, due to ill health, I am finding it difficult to get down low to do so and very difficult to get back up again. As such, only rare or unusual plants got their photos taken. Here is a small selection from those late season trips and this blog concludes my botainical adventures from 2020.

I will use my blogs in later years to revisit the best bits of 2020, I'll try and forget everything else about it.....


From Farninhgam Woods


Bugloss - Anchusa arvensis

The last flowering Deptford Pink - Dianthus armeria - a Kent RPR species

Here's the Dianthus habitat in the photo below. It shows the area becoming very overgrown with Sweet Chestnut, Oak and other common shrubs such as Dog Rose all crowding out Dianthus. This is of concern as Dianthus requires some disturbed ground for seed to germinate and trees from the adjoining woodland were in danger of swamping it.

As such, I contacted Natural England and sent them this photo highlighting my concerns as this site is within a SSSI. It took a few months but I am pleased to report that as a direct result of me bringing this to their attention works have been put in place to properly manage this site for Dianthus once again, There are very few sites left for this plant, so we don't want to lose any more. Thus a single person raising concerns can and sometimes does have a positive impact on protecting out wildlife.



 

 

 

 

A macro shot of a Great Mullein flower, conveniently at head height so no bending down to consider.


Verbascum thapsus





The flowers of Tansy, an unusual plant in north Kent, though much more common along the River Medway.

Tanacetum vulgare

Some views of Farningham Woods, a very bio diverse place with a range of habitats including acid and alkaline soils, clay, ponds, a chalk meadow and some heath.

Coppicing ensures bio diverse flora on the ground. However, extensive coppicing of Sweet Chestnut took place here due to the finding of an asian hornet wasp here a few years back.

Heather growing by a signboard on a clay capped acidic hilltop.

The car park looking out over the chalk downland towards Horton Kirby.


Ranscombe Farm


A stunning "Flagship" reserve managed by Plantlife near Cuxton in Kent.  Here's some plants of interest from a late season visit.

 the Kitchen Field is a great place to find the rare Stinking Chamomile. Crush some and the smell is vile, easy to identify from this feature alone.

Anthemis cotula


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Flax which was a crop relict.

Linum





Common Calamint (not very common) close to the A228 car park.

Clinopodium ascendens


A Small Copper on Wild Carrot



 

 

 

 

 

 

Just another yellow crucifer, I bet it's hard to identify!



In this case, no it isn't. The globular seeds are specific to Bastard Cabbage. Quite rare in many parts, but common enough in north Kent.

 

 

Rapistrum rugosum 







The star find was undoubtedly a single Blue Pimpernel. I've only ever found it at Ranscombe and even here it is very hard to find. The flowers are smaller than Scarlet Pimpernel and only open on sunny mornings.

There is a also blue variant of Scarlet Pimpernel (which I've never found). It can be told apart most easily by looking closely at the petal edges. In Scarlet Pimpernel there are a series of glandular tipped hairs (use a x20 lens), these are missing off the Blue Pimpernel as you can see below.

Lysimachia foemina

Some fine views of Ranscombe Farm in the rolling hills of the North Downs.





 

 

 

 

 

Disturbed arable habitat for Lysimachia foemina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So ends 2020. I wish you a happy 2021 and hope you can find some amazing wildflowers too.

 

Take care

Dave

@Barbus59







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