Meeting date: 10 May 2009
(Leader: Dawn Nelson)
A warm sun bathed the first meeting of the season, as 24 members wallowed in fruit beds and asparagus fields on the sandy foothills just west of Rogate. It was the first outing too for several copies of The Vegetative Key and, happily, we were in the company of the co-author and one of the principal illustrators. The purchase was soon paying off as we keyed out such species as Galeopsis tetrahit (Common Hemp-nettle), Senecio aquatica (Marsh Ragwort) and even Epilobium obscurum (Dull-leaved Willowherb) from mere scraps of leaves. There was a whoop of joy as some of Rosalind’s drawings of leaflet apices and stipules led us surely to Vicia tetrasperma as opposed to V. hirsuta. The morning passed profitably enough but Dawn had bigger ambitions. Harting Pond more than made up for the irritation of being situated at the intersection of three tetrads by some good plants, for example quantities of the county-scarce Carex rostrata (Bottle Sedge) and one or two specimens of Salix triandra (Almond-leaved Willow). Reed Warblers scratched their pleasant song as Alan plied his trusty (and indeed rusty) grapnel to gain Callitriche brutia (Water-starwort) and Potamogeton crispus (Curled Pondweed). The party dispersed almost visibly glowing and all will join with me in thanking our leader Dawn, the owners of Durleighmarsh Farm, and Eric and Rosalind, not to forget the absent John Poland, for their various contributions to the day.