Field meeting reports

Meeting date: 8 May 2004

(Leader: Arthur Hoare)

On such a wet and miserable looking day it was surprising to find the car-park filled to capacity.  It was difficult to get a head count as everyone was milling about greeting old friends and getting an update on the latest gossip, but I’m told that there were 30 present. The object of this joint meeting with the Surrey Flora Society was to look at two different woods, the first a ghyll woodland with an interesting ground flora indicating its ancient origins; and the other a mainly secondary woodland.  In spite of the heavy going through the mud we found many spring plants in evidence, including a few fine stands of Ranunculus auricomus (Goldilocks Buttercup) and both species of R. ficaria (Celandine).  It was not too long before we found Cardamine bulbifera (Coralroot), one of the specialities of the wood, growing on the banks of the stream. Close by there was Carex strigosa (Thin-spiked Wood-sedge) which was being studied by one group when Paul Bartlett appeared clutching a Dandelion leaf, a fine specimen of 64cm (25”); thankfully he did not ask anyone to identify the species.  The total number of species recorded was 111, a commendable effort under such trying conditions.

After lunch we travelled in convoy to Edolph’s Copse in Surrey, a 68 acre mixed woodland owned and managed by the Woodland Trust.  Soon after entering the wood a fine specimen of Sorbus torminalis (Wild Service-tree) was admired growing beside one of the ponds.  Not finding much in the way of aquatic plants at this time of year, we headed back to the path and started to record the many spring flowers in evidence at the sides of the track leading down into a small meadow.  With this change of habitat many new plants were added to the list: Dactylorhiza fuchsii (Common Spotted-orchid) was noted growing amongst the abundant Centaurea nigra (Common Knapweed) not yet in flower, but the best find here was a patch of Ophioglossum vulgatum (Adder’s-tongue).  Once we had got our eye in we were finding many more patches of this delicate fern.  Hypericum tetrapterum (Square-stalked St John’s-wort) was seen in the damper parts of the meadow.  Back into the woodland and, while walking through the carpets of Hyacinthoides non-scripta (Bluebell), we had another pleasing find with Platanthera chlorantha (Greater Butterfly-orchid) just coming into flower. Our final tally for the afternoon session was 128 species.