Monday, 30 January 2017

Mickleham winter flora

I normally go and pay my respects to the 'winter' flora in the Mickleham area each January, and seeing that it is February on Wednesday I only had two days in which to keep up my record.

A grey, drizzly morning kept the light low and gave everything the feeling of being in two dimensions - flat was the word. I started at the White Hill car park and was soon checking the old wall that runs alongside the isolated cottage. It is here that you can usually find Rustyback, and I was pleased to come across two plants, mixed in with the more numerous Wall-rue. Then onto the slopes of Mickleham Downs, home to a great south-eastern rarity, truly wild Wild Candytuft. Several hundred plants are present, although I went no further than the first flowering plant that I came across. This species is in flower all year round here, although the books don't refer to it as having a constant flowering season. Nearby was plenty of Stinking Hellebore, in various sizes and age. Both these species find the areas of bare mud and crumbling chalk to their liking.

A walk along the road into Mickleham Village produced Butcher's Broom, Mistletoe and Winter Heliotrope, with Hart's-tongue and Snowdrop also being seen by the time the church was reached.

A few Juniper bushes at the top of Box Hill, and several woody Spurge-laurel plants back at the bottom of Juniper Top were further notables. No images I'm afraid. My trusty Panasonic compact camera seems to be finally packing up - all the pictures were strangely out of focus, but it is quite old. The bridge camera will now be pressed into macro service.

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