Bewl Water

Field meeting reports
Picture of a group of botanists at Bewl Water
Lunch! Photo: Sarah Kitchener

Meeting date: 15 August 2019

Joint meeting with Kent Botanical Recording Group and SBRS

(Leaders: Geoffrey Kitchener/Helen Proctor)

We met in sunshine on the causeway at Rosemary Lane, where we greeted Kent members. Botanising started on the causeway with Silene coronaria (Rose Campion) and Rorippa palustris (Marsh Yellow-cress) being noted on the verge and in the gutter. We then headed south-west along the shore of the southern arm of the reservoir. This section is within the vice-county of West Kent VC16. Three zones on the shore were clearly visible. Upwards from the water’s edge, the middle zone was carpeted with Crassula helmsii (New Zealand Pigmyweed). The upper zone was floriferous with quantities of Mentha x verticillata (Whorled Mint) and a mixture of Persicaria amphibia (Amphibious Bistort), Bidens tripartita (Trifid Bur-marigold), Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife) and Lycopus europaeus (Gypsywort). Geoffrey gave us the benefit of his expertise on hybrid docks, soon showing us Rumex x pratensis. By this time, latecomers swelled the number of attendees to eighteen, including five Sussex members, a few hybrid members and a good turnout of Kentish members.

Picture of Bidens tripartita (Trifid Bur-marigold) and Mentha x verticillata (Whorled Mint)
Bidens tripartita (Trifid Bur-marigold) and Mentha x verticillata (Whorled Mint). Photo: Helen Proctor

A closer inspection of the Crassula carpet revealed several other taxa growing amongst this invasive alien. These included Lythrum portula (Water–purslane), and just one stem of Rumex maritimus (Golden Dock). We continued through relict ancient woodland to a stream that marked our entry to East Sussex and VC14.  Further on, we basked in the sunshine on a Crassula covered bank of the reservoir to eat lunch. Many similar taxa to those on the Kent side were recorded, including Lythrum portula in quantity, Gnaphalium uliginosum (Marsh Cudweed) and Lycopus europaeus. However, after some searching, we found eight stems of Golden Dock on our side! A large shrub by the water’s edge was later named by Clive Stace and David Streeter as Salix x holosericea, the hybrid between S. viminalis and S. cinerea.  The only floating aquatic seen was Lemna minor (Common Duckweed) although Crassula helmsii was also submerged.