Monday, 20 July 2015

Many eyes make bigger count

Sorry, more arable plant stuff, I promise to get back to birding soon!

Anyway, I returned to Langley Vale this morning, to take a closer look at the Field Gromwell and, blow me, found up to 30 additional plants along the 30m bare strip, with about half of them in flower (above, left). I sent this new information off to some local Surrey botanists that I am in contact with, and Dennis and Rosy immediately went to take a look - they then carried further along the edge of the field and found hundreds more! Plus, in the original chalky corner (where I had seen a single Venus's-looking-glass), they added another 13 plants of that species for good measure. Just shows you what my single pair of eyes had missed...

I also visited the Narrow-fruited Cornsalad and Catmint field which is always a pleasure, with the latter species in good flower (above right). I couldn't resist crushing a leaf or two to get a feline hit!

Apparently, these Field Gromwells are the first records for Surrey since 1990 and the first from this particular farm. Chances are that they have always been here and were just waiting for someone to meander onto the field margin and look down!


  1. Why go back to birding Steve, that's done to death by too many people, you're doing far more important work highlighting all these plant species and probably flowers that 9 out of 10 birders wouldn't even notice.

  2. I agree with Derek, keep the plants coming Steve, its an education for me. I`ve led a couple of wild flower walks this summer at Dungeness and realised just how woeful my plant knowledge is; fortunately we`ve got some pretty good botanists down here who`ve baled me out a few times.

  3. What am I bid for my Swarovski scope then? Just joking...

  4. Never mind the Buzzards, keep the plants coming! I am enjoying them vicariously.

  5. An interesting occurrence in what sounds like a relatively (?) well studied area, especially given that the seed is supposedly short lived. Has it been overlooked, dug up from deep ploughing, or arrived recently in some way (eg as a crop contaminant)?

    Im not suggesting it is the case here, in fact probably unlikely, but Ive just learnt that Corn Gromwell (Lithospermum arvense - Buglossoides arvensis) is now being touted as a crop in the UK for refined omega-3 oil. See for example:

    In the near future, the opportunity to understand the archaeophyte UK population my become very clouded!

    1. That is interesting Gareth, a field of deliberately cultivated Corn Gromwell. This same field has now given up Rough Poppy - we'd better keep looking!