Night-flowering Catchfly

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday, 12 July 2010 21:33

Back to the arable field by Devils Dyke again this evening for my evening stroll and as we arrived, clouds of dust highlighted the presence of a tractor slowly cutting its way through the poppies and all the wonderful arable plants I have been looking at recently. He soon left though and the whole field was still pretty much left untouched. I took Jo through the field down to wear I saw all the Narrow-fruited Cornsalad and further into the north east corner of the field, this plant formed a dense mat. There was also a lot of Common Hemp-nettle but the best find was spotted by Jo. A single specimen of Night-flowering Catchfly! The top three photos are of this specimen, yet another new species for me. It's much smaller than White Campion with narrower, deeply split petals. The flowers were very weakly yellow on the outside and almost pure white on the inside, quite unlike all the exaggerated pink/yellow illustrations shown in the books. The sticky stem is indicative, White Campion never has this. I have included a photo of White Campion below for comparison.
In 'Arable Plants - a field guide' it is shown as being a Species of Conservation Concern and in 'Sussex Wildflowers' it says there were only 11 records between 1984 and the time of writing (2004) with only 9 sites in East Sussex, although it is not now thought to be nationally scarce. I have always wanted to see this although it's a shame it didn't look like it did in the books!

3 Response to "Night-flowering Catchfly"

Anonymous Says:

Hi Some nice arable weed photos there. That is definately a decent field you have located. I guess it maybe a known hotspot? I like to scour the fields by me on the North Wessex Downs, and had the excitement of something new myself last week, the blue form of scarlet pimpernel. I dont see that cornsalad or the rough poppy very often at all.
Cheers, Gareth.

Graeme Lyons Says:

Hi Gareth
Cool, I have seen the blue form but still not the blue sub-species. When I get back to work tomorrow I will find out if this field is a known site or not. Might give it one more look over this afternoon for anymore rarities!
Graeme

Anonymous Says:

Sorry, yes I meant foemina. Turns out it was recorded on the same farm in 2007, so only new to me! I went on a plantlife event recently on arable weeds. They have published a guide to threatened species they wish to keep an eye on, if you havent already seen it, and are requesting records of those species:
http://www.arableplants.org.uk/assets/index/Threatened%20arable%20plants%20ID%20guide.pdf
http://www.arableplants.org.uk/assets/index/Threatened%20arable%20plants%20survey%20form.pdf

The catchfly and cornsalad are on that list so maybe worth letting them know if you have the time, especially if it is an unknown site.

I like the blog anyway, arrived via the catchfly pic on surfbirds.

All the best,
Gareth

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