Field meeting reports

Meeting date: 18 June 2005

(Leader: Bruce Middleton)

Having processed at dignified pace behind Bruce’s car from the farmyard rendezvous, we found ourselves deep in rolling, unimproved, acid grassland aleap with grasshoppers.  Delights such as Dactylorhiza praetermissa (Southern Marsh-orchid) and Filago vulgaris (‘Common’ Cudweed) were almost underfoot as we climbed out of our vehicles.  The slope we worked interspersed dry areas of bank supporting Filago and Trifolium arvense (Hare’s-foot Clover), with muddy seepages harbouring a contrasting flora.  Sedge highlight of the day was Carex laevigata (Smooth-stalked Sedge), which flourished wherever conditions were damp enough.  We very happily covered little ground in the morning and began the afternoon by drifting along the bank in the opposite direction, where Bruce warned us that the profusion of Marsh-orchids could be dangerously exciting.  It was.  Then for the last part of the meeting we moved on to Iping Marsh, where we inspected some pleasantly soggy fields and studied Dactylorhiza species including D. maculata (Heath Spotted-orchid) and what looked to be D. x grandis.  Our pleasure was somewhat ruined, however, by one irritating voice speculating about D x hallii.  To which query there was at length an answer but not, alas, one couched in the language of academe.  From this skeletal account of the day, the member not privileged to have been one of the thirteen present will gather that this was another of Bruce’s specials.