Chalk and cheese

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday 26 July 2010 17:36

I finished the quadrats in the Friston Forest area today and there are many changes. The disturbance caused by the cattle is reflected in the flora, there is a great deal more Scarlet Pimpernel, Field Madder and Viper's Bugloss than usual. There is also more Long-stalked Cranesbill (top photo - with a free-loading Field Madder flower in the back ground!) which in my opinion is a really smart little plant. I also found some Trailing St. John's-wort (second photo). The variety of plants that grow at Friston is incredible, chalk heath is quite unusual, plants you would not normally see growing side by side are quite at home together. All of this is due to wind-blown deposits also known as 'loess' that sit on top of the chalk and have a much lower pH than the chalk due to their sandy nature. These deposits can be very thin so long-rooted calcareous species can grow in amongst short-rooted calcifugous species.
As I was leaving I noticed this social wasp mimic hoverfly nectaring on Hogweed by the gate. It's Chrysotoxum festivum. The habitat is grassy places near woodland rides and the species is widespread but never common according to  'Stubbs & Falk'. It has four pairs of curved yellow bars on the black abdomen, all yellow legs and yellowish wings with a dark spot.

2 Response to "Chalk and cheese"

eSa Says:

Very informative posts with truly beautiful photos! Enjoyed reading them. Thanks for sharing. If you wanna share some info of flora & fauna of the Malay Archipelago region, please drop by at

Graeme Lyons Says:

Thanks for the comments, I'll certainly take a look!

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