Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Botanical Quest

Today I accompanied the Sussex Botanical Recording Society on an expedition to find a particular species of fern.

We searched for it in Mansbrook Wood near Dallington where it had previously been seen.

We were also on the look out for other species that had not been previously recorded and I photographed a few of the highlights.

Glaucous Sedge (Carex flacca) is fairly recognizable. The undersides of the leaves are characteristically bluish-green, hence the common name.

Another new species for me was Common Water-starwort (Callitriche stagnalis). Unlike duckweeds whose leaves are free floating, Starwort leaves are anchored by a network of stems.

We found the fern we were hoping to see. Hay-scented Buckler Fern (Dryopteris aemula). This fern prefers damp, humid habitats such as those found adjacent to woodland streams.

This next photo shows some of the leaf detail. Identification is not entirely straight forward and requires a hand lens for accuracy.

Dwarf Gorse (Ulex minor) was another plant I was unfamiliar with until today. It often likes woodland rides that have been rabbit grazed.

Somewhat off topic, but I did like this old wall that can be seen from the path in Purchace Wood (adjacent to Mansbrook Wood). I was impressed by the strength and resilience of the old arch, despite some of the foundation having been washed away.

Finally, I also saw a few butterflies in the warm sunshine today, a male Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) and many Commas (Polygonia c-album).

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