Field meeting reports
Picture of Rosy Garlic (Allium roseum)
Allium roseum (Rosy Garlic). Photo: Nick Sturt

Meeting date: 28 June 2015

(Leaders: Nick Sturt & Frances Abraham)

Arthur saw off the party of twelve from the car park as the author and Frances felt some regret that they would not have his expertise on tap to deal with the baffling aliens which were expected on the route around Henfield town.  The aim was general recording – and a splendid 230 or so records for TQ21C was amassed by the end of the day – with a special look-out for plants with a connection to William Borrer.  While both leaders fell over each other to delegate responsibility to the other, Malcolm and Helen confidently conducted the group along Cagefoot Lane to view the plaque commemorating the house in which the Great Botanist was born.  It was but a short step from there to find the first Borrer plant, Fumaria capreolata (Ramping Fumitory), after which they just kept coming – Impatiens parviflora (Small Balsam), and several Geranium species, including G. lucidum (Shining Crane’s-bill) and G. rotundifolium (Round-leaved Crane’s-bill). Allium roseum (Rosy Garlic) and Ornithogalum pyrenaicum (Spiked Star-of-Bethlehem) were fittingly represented on Borrer’s Bank, where an information board explains how these species originate from his wonderful garden, which has now been built on.

In the afternoon we sallied out onto the Common, which looked a little in need of grazing but still yielded some good species, such as Danthonia decumbens (Heath Grass) and Pedicularis sylvatica (Lousewort).  The best plants, however, were in the dampest region and included Anagallis tenella (Bog Pimpernel), Carex panicea (Carnation Sedge) and – a real rarity in Sussex these days – Triglochin palustre (Marsh Arrowgrass).  The proceedings came to a conclusion with a shower of rain not quite sufficient to stop play on the cricket-pitch and thus allow an inspection of the Chamaemelum nobile (Chamomile).  And so a drifting back to the cars, with the feeling of having had a good day ‘in the field’ – the meeting enlivened by the presence of two bright new members, Rachel and Tom.

Group of botanists at the Henfield meeting