Chichester Harbour

Field meeting reports

Meeting date: 31 August 2002

(Leader: Alan Knapp)

Alan briefed the group fully in the car-park: the desired Atriplex longipes (Long-stalked Orache) was a notably unattractive plant. So we (that is 21 members and 5 visitors from Hants and Dorset) trudged off through Fishbourne Marsh, failing to find this late in the season the specialities of Juncus subnodulosus (Blunt-flowered Rush) and Catabrosa aquatica (Whorl-grass) but enjoying the Cyperus longus (Galingale) which Arnold first reported from the pond.

Fishbourne Creek – from where, according to the very recent theory of archaeologists, the Romans mounted their invasion of the island – presented us with much Apium graveolens (Wild Celery) and many fairly unalluring specimens of Atriplex prostrata (Spear-leaved Orache); the latter we fell upon, hoping to find flowers on stalks in order to claim its close relation as a plant new to the vice-county. Two individuals were found which each bore one such flower and which atriplicologists hailed as hybrid material. In due course John Akeroyd confirmed the specimens as the notably unattractive A x gustafssoniana (A. prostrata x longipes). But there were other delights, such as Lepidium latifolium (Dittander) in quantity.

We worked our way along the muddy edge of Chichester Harbour to emerge on the bank and walk by quantities of Petroselinum segetum (Corn-parsley) and Torilis nodosa (Knotted Hedge-parsley).

In the afternoon we worked the western side of the Creek, with Paul and Tony on the look out for two Sea-lavenders (Limonium vulgare and L humile) to complete their collection of Sussex species. Only the hybrid (L x neumannii) eluded them, but meanwhile others, who had had the foresight to provide themselves with enlarged copies of Stace’s illustrations, were successfully identifying species of Salicornia.

This, however, was the meeting that will go down as a blot in the annals of Sussex botany for Paul’s sacrilegious hailing of the venerable Alan in the disgraceful words ‘Oi, Knappy!’.