West Firle Beacon

Field meeting reports
Picture of Phyteuma orbiculare (Round-headed Rampion)
Phyteuma orbiculare (Round-headed Rampion). Photo: Helen Proctor

Meeting date: 29 June 2019

(Leader: Peter Smith)

Every year that I agree to lead a field meeting it turns out to be the hottest day of the year, and this year did not disappoint. Eight brave souls arrived with hats and sun cream for an exploration of the chalk downland flora around White Lion Pond and Ellman’s Combe. Scrub clearance in recent years has been beneficial. Overall we recorded 142 species, of which four were new tetrad records. We noted particularly good populations of Calamintha acinos (Basil Thyme), Phyteuma orbiculare (Round-headed Rampion), Lithospermum officinale (Common Gromwell) and Gymnadenia conopsea (Fragrant-orchid). Those who lasted the full day were rewarded with the anomalous presence of Erica cinerea (Bell Heather) on this downland site.

Picture of Clinopodium acinos (Basil Thyme)
Clinopodium acinos (Basil Thyme). Photo: Helen Proctor
Picture of botanists with Echium vulgare (Viper's-bugloss)
The group with Echium vulgare (Viper’s-bugloss). Photo: Helen Proctor