Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Almost lilliputian flora

For an inland botanist, a trip to Dungeness is an eye-opener in many ways. The suite of plants present will obviously be different to the ones that you are used to and even those that you are familiar with can appear very different indeed. The windswept and open nature of the shingle, the paucity of soil and dryness can all combine to stunt growth. This is no more apparent than in the populations of Blackthorn and Broom that lie, prostrate, across much of the shingle.


I've crouched down to take the photograph above of this Blackthorn bush, most probably a foot high at the most, and this is not as small as they get. Some fight for light with the lichens that surround them! These are no young specimens that will soon tower all around them, but decades old bushes, older than you and I.


Some plants just are small, plain and simple. The Early Forget-me-not is coming out in flower across the shingle right now, but from head height it can be a struggle to see the flowers. My placing of a penny next to a plant illustrates this nicely.


Another tiny flower belongs to Spring Vetch, although I left the penny in my pocket on this occasion.


Last up is Shepherd's Cress, small (but not Lilliputian) and at the moment there must be hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of plants across the peninsula. Dungeness is its only known locality in the county of Kent. But being of small stature, the carpeting of the shingle can go unnoticed.

4 comments:

  1. Oh dear, your blogs seem to be going the same way as mine Steve, few if any, are commenting back. People seem to be bored with the run-of-the mill nice countryside postings. I've always had more comments on ones describing my mis-spent youth.

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    1. Not many blogs get comments Derek, so any that come along are most welcome. Most of mine come from a handful of people, so if one (or two) of them stop, then it does show up!

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  2. Well after the above comments, I posted one that ignored the nice countryside type and still only got one comment. I read another where the person simply posted what she was having for dinner and she is on 20-odd comments so far - all a bit strange.

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    1. There are some tremendous blogs out there that hardly get comments at all Derek. There does not appear to be any logic to it.

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