Drovers Estate, Singleton

Field meeting reports
Picture of Verbascum nigrum (Dark Mullein)
Verbascum nigrum (Dark Mullein). Photo: Nick Sturt

Meeting date: 13 July 2019

(Leader: Nick Sturt)

The second meeting of the year arranged by Dawn but a family event meant that it was down to the author to try to recreate what had been a most enjoyable recce a few days earlier with Dawn herself and Elisabeth. The company on the day proved just as congenial, with the welcome return of NT Ranger Fiona Scully to the SBRS scene (she later posed for a picture under a Foxglove easily twice her height), Sue Denness (doyenne of the grasses), Helen Dignum (sporting an enviably stylish hat), Alison Minns (ever a lovely companion in the field) and Mike Shaw (taking a breather from working on his Hieracium treatise). A meadow was the first subject of inquiry and yielded a good selection of species including Orobanche minor (Common Broomrape) and Anacamptis pyramidalis – it seems to have been a wonderful year for Pyramidal Orchids. It was two stabled horses and some busy hens which next attracted attention as the party passed Broadham House, rummaged for ruderal weeds and moved on into woodland where Galium odoratum (Woodruff) was conspicuous and fine old beech trees lined the way. Into a damp forestry ride various representatives of Juncus (the Rush genus) appeared along with Carex leporina (Oval Sedge)and pristine Silver-washed Fritillaries. At a junction later on lunch was taken beside Centaurium pulchellum (Lesser Centaury) and we reflected on the six species of Hypericum collected: androsaemum, hirsutum, humifusum, perforatum, pulchrum, tetrapterum (Tutsan, and Hairy, Trailing, Perforate, Slender and Square-stalked St.John’s-worts). Then it was out into the sun again and onto chalk grassland for a finale of choice plants: Asperula cynanchica (Squinancywort), Scabiosa columbaria (Small Scabious), Silene vulgaris (Bladder Campion), and much more Anacamptis pyramidalis. At the end of the day we found that our tour had recorded 225 species.

Picture of botanists at Singleton
Looking for (or getting tired of) plants. Photo: Mike Shaw