Field meeting reports

Meeting date: 26 March 2000

(Leader: Alan Knapp)

A group of us huddled around Alan in a street behind Lancing seafront while we examined his reference specimens of Poa infirma (Early Meadow-grass). Our task on this decidedly fresh morning was to restore the honour of Sussex botanists by tracking this modest grass eastwards before persons from a neighbouring county made further inroads along our coast. After diligently working an area adjacent to the beach, eventually the yellowish green of a small patch of P infirma was spotted on a well-mown bank in front of Milford Court flats. Our eyes well and truly in, we ran more to ground on Beach Green a short distance further East where Paul was also able to draw our attention to patchy carpets of  Poa bulbosa (Bulbous Meadow-grass), another miniature. By now a chill rain had begun to fall and lunch was taken in cars. More intrepid members then drove on into v.c.14 but no further P infirma was found. In between scouring the earth for Alan’s tiny treasure we speculated on whether its apparently sudden appearance along the South coast was a real indication of climate change. The weather on that day tended not to lend credence to the idea. (PS In the course of the season P infirma was noticed ever further into East Sussex and having only just gained promotion from no record status to an entry on the county Rare Plants Register proceeded to disqualify itself through being too common!)

(Ed’s note: Alan adds that 30 species were seen in flower, despite the early date, including Sherardia arvensis (Field Madder), Medicago arabica (Spotted Medick) & Veronica arvensis (Wall Speedwell) at Lancing, and Fumaria officinalis (Common Fumitory) and Veronica polita (Grey Field-speedwell) at Roedean)