Meeting date: 12 August 2012
(Leader: Nick Sturt)
Reinforcements from the east in the form of Helen, Roy and Matthew enhanced both the value and the pleasure of the day, which started in the urban surroundings of TQ10M, a tetrad that had been well worked for the Sussex Plant Atlas by the incomparable Betty Bishop. One group searched the residential area north of the A27, with Dawn pouncing upon many a garden escape as well as Euphorbia platyphyllus (Broad-leaved Spurge), while the other (which included Eric, who had himself escaped from Hampshire for the day) mingled uneasily with fervent Sunday shoppers at the retail park spotting aliens such as Rapistrum rugosum (Bastard Cabbage). Plants of the morning were Spiranthes spiralis (Autum Lady’s-tresses) on a traffic island in First Avenue, a strange amenity planting on chalk of a single Frangula alnus (Alder Buckthorn) and a strip of Lotus glaber (Narrow-leaved Bird’s-foot-trefoil), apparently the relic of a fodder crop.
In the afternoon the task was to record Lychpole Hill in TQ10N. There was plenty to keep the party of twelve amused with some good patches of downland turf supporting specialities such as Asperula cynanchica (Squinancywort), Filipendula vulgaris (Dropwort) and Thymus pulegioides (Large Thyme). On top of the hill the foul-smelling Anthemis cotula (Stinking Chamomile) was present in quantity and there was a pleasing arable margin. It was the descent of the hill that was problematical as the misguided leader led his trusting band into steep, impenetrable scrub and was forced to think again, if indeed he had thought in the first place. At length a gentle wander back along the foot of the hill was achieved with further arrays of chalk plants and a haul of more than 180 species in total, 25 new for the tetrad.