Saturday, 18 May 2013

Clovers and Crowfoots

I started off the morning by visiting Blake's Pond on Epsom Common, a charming small waterbody that looks as if it has a touch of the past about it. I can imagine that geese, horses and Victorian raggamuffins used to poach its edges to enable all sorts of good plants to survive. Most of these agents of disturbance have gone now, replaced by dogs and Elizabethan raggamuffins who deposit empty cider bottles into the water instead. All is not lost however - there is still a fine selection of plants present, hence my visit. First target was Adder's-tongue, which evaded me even though I carefully checked all of the cleared areas around the edge. Next I examined the flowering Water Crowfoot, expecting Common (R. aquatilis) but seemingly finding Pond (R. peltatus). The floating leaves were not deeply lobed (see picture) and the petals on the flower were 11-12 mm long (they should be shorter than 10mm on Common apparently). So, have I got it wrong or are both species present? Any help will be gratefully received.


I then moved onto Reigate Heath. When I visited two weeks ago the cricket pitch was devoid of flower, but today stuff was showing - not much, but enough. Firstly was Upright Chickweed, quickly followed by Bird's-foot Clover, Burrowing (or if you prefer, Subterranean) Clover and, confusingly, Bird's-foot. This area of grass is home to a fine selection of small flowered goodies. Well worth a visit, but you will probably end up prostrate on the ground. Take a hand lens...

Bird's-foot Clover, glabrous with leaves like a palmated birds foot
Burrowing Clover - hairy leaves and quite plentiful

In other news: an aberrant Redwing has been seen in Margate Cemetery

3 comments:

  1. Hi Steve, sorry - a bit late into the fray! I know Blake's Pond very well. It was I that initially found the colony of Adder's-tongue a good few years ago. In an amazing lack of foresight, we cleared the overhanging hawthorns to allow the colony to flourish. This year they are being "lost" amongst the tall, rank grasses which have grown up in the absence of cover...ho hum, more work needed! I checked the Water-crowsfoot again, there are two species present. Pond (which you noted and I scooped afterwards, ta muchly!) and Common, which is present in a much smaller quantity.

    Steve, whenever you fancy a trip across to Epsom Common just let me know. I'm more than happy to do the whole guided-tour mallarkey. If nothing else I can show you those Adder's-tongues! Seriously, be great to meet you. Cheers, Seth.

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  2. Thanks for all that info Seth. I will certainly take you up on that kind offer in the near future. Regards, Steve.

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  3. ping me an email whenever - widerscope(AT)hotmail.co.uk and we'll figure something out :)

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