Spreading the word

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday, 18 July 2010 18:18

Thanks to Peter Whitcomb for giving me the gen on this endangered plant, Spreading Hedge-parsley. A new species for me and separated from the much commoner Upright Hedge-parsley by having only 3-5 rays per umble (compared to 5-12 rays in Upright). It also has 0-1 bracts (4-6 in Upright). The leaves are also more open with greater spaces between the leaflets. The jizz of the plant is totally different, much shorter and more spreading than Upright Hedge-parsley. A nationally scarce and BAP species associated with  heavy  calcareous soils on arable land and occasionally road verges, here it was found on the edge of Falmer pond, directly in front of the gate of the Church and being very easy to find, Jo spotted it first! The constant clambering of people down to the waters edge is keeping the sward open and emulating the bare/disturbed conditions this annual plant needs. Yet another rare plant kept going by people pressure, whether a God-fearer, duck-feeder or a plant-twitcher, we all leave our mark but this time it seems to be positive!

The edge of the pond has an interesting draw-down zone with Fiddle Dock, Toad Rush and the invasive Button-weed. I could imagine there might be something of note here too but I am trying to avoiding micro-botany at the moment as it's not good for back ache so I let it be.

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