Field meeting reports

Meeting date: 10 June 2001

(Leader: Alan Knapp)

On this occasion Alan was leading once again, and once again we were 19.

We spent the morning on Henfield Common, where those of that persuasion found plenty of sedges to please including Carex ovalis (Oval Sedge) so large in the wet conditions that it was – strangely  – difficult to distinguish it from a stand of C disticha (Brown Sedge). Two marsh plants rare in Sussex were Hypericum elodes (Marsh St.John’s-wort) and Anagallis tenella (Bog Pimpernel), both known here by Henfield’s own Willian Borrer. Grasses were also receiving a lot of attention from Beryl, Paul and others, and the card testifies to the effort put in here in determining the more subtle species – and indeed in spotting the more insignificant ones such as Danthonia decumbens (Heath-grass) and Nardus stricta (Mat-grass). All the time the persistent song of the reed warblers in the managed Phragmites swamp.

We moved on into woodland edge (a good stand here of Dryopteris carthusiana (Narrow Buckler-fern) to see two whips of Populus nigra (Black Poplar) planted and a solitary, apparently not planted, Prunus padus (Bird Cherry), emerging onto the playing fields in the hope that the cricket pitch in particular might yield an overlooked speciality…. which it did: Chamaemelum nobile (Chamomile) in small but numerous swathes in the manicured turf. And so to lunch.

So Herculean had been the labours of the morning that Alan decreed a relaxing afternoon taking in Borrer’s Bank where a few survivals from the Great Man’s Barrow Hill ground survive, for example Trachystemon orientale (Abraham-Isaac-Jacob), Fumaria capreolata (White Ramping-fumitory), Allium roseum (Rosy Garlic), and Ornithogalum pyrenaicum (Spiked Star-of-Bethlehem). Some sandy fields yielded a selection of arable weeds including some Fagopyrum esculentum (Buckwheat) and in the town itself there were exotics such as four different species of Oxalis within an area barely 4m2 and the beautiful Linaria maroccana (Annual Toadflax). We dispersed somewhat dazzled by the assembly of plants which we had studied.