On the edge of Headley Heath is a pond that was home to the exceedingly rare plant, Starfruit. It was a well-known site amongst botanists and saw a steady stream of them come to pay their respects over the years. The pond was not managed, it became overgrown and when a mass of cleared vegetation was dumped by its side the Starfruit had had enough. It disappeared.
Three years ago the pond was cleared. The surrounding vegetation was removed, and the Starfruit's seed bank was shocked back into life. You can read about my audience with this reawakening here. Sometime last year I was browsing online when my attention was drawn to this very same pond, with a reference being made to the presence of Lesser Marshwort - not a rare species, but certainly a local one. I had not seen it before, in all likelihood I had overlooked it over the years across several locations. This afternoon I went back...
The plant was found quickly, but there wasn't a lot of it and had I not known it was there could easily have missed it. It grows in the water, with thread like submerged leaves and palmate ones above the surface, together with tiny white flowers of five petals. It is one for the connoisseur, a delicate and unassuming thing.
|Location of most of the Marshwort, just a metre away from the pond edge|
|Submerged leaves, different from those upper leaves in the top picture.|