Wednesday, 3 January 2018

To Ewell and back

Another session spent winter botanising, and once again a plentiful supply of plants to identify - mostly actually in flower or bud - which proves that there really isn't a dead season to be had when searching for flowers. I walked from home, along the Reigate Road and stopped off at Priest Hill SWT Reserve. At first glance the open fields of lifeless grass didn't seem to suggest that there would be any joy here, but if you look hard enough...

Just like yesterday, most of the highlights were of alien/escaped species, but that is fine by me: Lesser Periwinkle, Sowbread, Asian Firethorn, Silver Lime, Balkan Spurge (Euphorbia tomentosa), Vibernum, Pampass-grass (Cortaderia selloana) and Mediterranean Spurge (E characias) were the pick of the bunch.

Asian Firethorn (Pyracantha rogersiana) Identified by the hairless leaf stalks.
Silver Lime (Tilia tomentosa) And before you think my skill levels on identifying obscure winter trees has improved, I was shown this tree in the summer by Peter Wakeham.
Vibernum tinus, a remnant from a long lost garden or municipal planting?
Mediterranean Spurge (Euphorbia characias) I was pleased to find that this plant had survived
Mistletoe. Some hefty clumps in trees near Ewell East Station. I could fit in these (if I curled myself up!)
I then headed towards the River Hogsmill at Ewell, where the plant listing carried on, alongside some prolonged views of  both a feeding Kingfisher and Little Egret - needless to say I had not taken the bridge camera with me, but maybe that was for the best, as I was removed from faffing about trying to get the perfect image (well at least as good as my bridge camera would allow). Winter Heliotrope was starting to flower in number; a single Cow Parsley thought it was May and was fully out; Water-cress looked vibrant as it choked the edges of the shallow river; a single Black Spleenwort was hanging onto an old brick wall; and that mascot of winter flowerers, the Snowdrop, put in an appearance.

Winter Heliotrope. My personal winter favourite.


  1. Must be about time for my annual, "is that Ramularia purpurascens I see on those WInter Heliotrope leaves?" quote. Do you reckon that Asian Firethorn is properly birdsown, seems unlikely to have been deliberately planted? One I've yet to encounter in a convincingly 'wild' state.

    1. I reckon that it is bird-sown Seth, well away from any of the outbuildings or paths that used to exist.

  2. Replies
    1. I have a feeling that this week will mainly be about green stuff Jono