Autumn Arable Wildflowers, Longfield, Kent. 20/09/2016

There is a large arable field just North of Longfield that has been left fallow for well over a year. I thought it might have some interesting arable plants now so I had a quick visit to see what I could find. Apart from being a nice open space, it doesn't look much does it. However, when the farmer leaves it a while before spraying, the seed bank in the soil comes to life. Longfield can be seen to the left of the photo. Scarlet Pimpernels are almost guaranteed to be present and can be found in a variety of habitats from pavement cracks to shingle areas. However, arable field edges are their stronghold. Always keep a look out for subspecies, such as the rare Blue Pimpernel or a rose coloured variant. Anagallis arvensis subsp arvensis There were at least a thousand of these Small Toadflax plants scattered throughout the field, with their snap draon type small flowers being distinctive. The flowers are mostly white, but look closer and you'll see pink

RIverside Country Park Gillingham, Kent - 11/09/16

This blog is about a month out of date but I've finally got around to writing it! I walked this country park on the banks of the tidal Medway recording plants as I went. The OS square to the West of the car park was under recorded, so that gave the trip a more defined purpose. There's a reasonable amount of salt marsh to explore when the tide is low as it was today, and scrubby areas inland. The most obvious flowering plant on the salt marsh edges was Sea Aster. They are like a saltwater tolerant version of the Michelmas Daisies. There are two forms, one with lilac rays and the other with the rays absent. I only found the rayed form here today. Aster tripolium var. tripolium Glassworts were common too. I keep missing the Kent Botanical Recording Society field trips that concentrate on this species. If I could have attended I would be able to identify each type. Believe it not, this one was in flower! On the lower branch are two tiny yellow

Some Botanical Jewels from the Romney Marsh, Kent - 27/08/16

For this blog I visited Littlestone, Greatstone and the ditches and dykes of the Romney Marsh in South West Kent. It's a lovely under-rated area both for beaches and wildlife, never crowded and always peaceful, though in Winter, quite bleak as well. But Winter is not yet here and I made the trip to the South coast of Kent to see what botanical marvels I might find. My first stop was on the Romney Marsh. This is an area intensely farmed with widespread use of pesticides and herbicides, but the ditches (or dykes) that criss cross the marsh are filled with wildlife. A single track road going from Brenzett towards Fairlight produced a few fine stands of Marsh Mallow, a RPR species in Kent. The Romney Marsh and the Leybourne area are the only places I know where to find it. Here's a habitat photo I took on the Marsh for this wonderful flower. Related to the Common Mallow and the Musk Mallow, the Marsh Mallow has been picked almost to extinction in the county, as Marshmall