The Medway valley

Field meeting reports
Picture of Callitriche brutia ssp. hamulata (Intermediate Water-starwort)
Callitriche brutia ssp. hamulata (Intermediate Water-starwort). Photo: Brad Scott

Meeting date: 5 August 2018

(Leaders: Brad Scott and Geoffrey Kitchener)

The annual joint meeting with the Kent Botanical Recording Group (KBRG) meandered along and over the rivers forming the border between the two counties. Starting off at Ashurst station in VC16 the group gradually made its way down towards the river, on the way noting several established plants of Rhus typhina (Stag’s-Horn Sumach), a native of north-eastern America. Once in Sussex, it soon became clear that hybrids were going to be a feature of the first part of the day’s recording; Geoffrey Kitchener patiently explained the features of various docks, including Rumex x pratensis and Rumex x dufftii. Nearby margins also harboured Hypericum x desetangsii.  An arable field margin delayed us for some time as we examined many grasses, the most noteworthy being Echinochloa crus-galli (Cockspur), Bromopsis ramosa (Hairy-brome) and Bromus secalinus (Rye Brome). Re-crossing the Medway, Steve Lemon from the Kent group extracted various plants from the river, which provided us with fruiting specimens of Callitriche brutia ssp. hamulata (Intermediate Water-starwort) and C.  obtusangula (Blunt-fruited Water-starwort). In parallel with all this activity Sue Rubinstein was busy recording the bryophytes and added several new tetrad records, especially from the wooden bridges, which harboured Syntrichia latifolia and Bryoerythrophyllum recurvirostrum. Finally back at Ashurst station and the Kent group supplied their traditional cake moment, which had extra significance since it was also to celebrate Helen’s birthday.

Photo: Brad Scott