US social scientist Kenneth Boulding : ‘If you believe exponential growth can go on in a finite world, you are either a madman or an economist’.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

13/6/09: Highway aliens and Hare's-foot Clover

More botanising in Bexleyheath.

Geranium robertianum, Nipplewort, Ground Elder, Hedge Bindweed and Black Medick in the shrub beds surrounding the wasteland that is the car park behind The Mall.

Fairly typical 'weeds' in beds along the north side of Albion Rd, behind the Broadway, including Prickly Lettuce, Creeping Thistle, Shepherd's Purse, Redshank, Hedge Mustard and Black Horehound. Plus a couple of aliens. Firstly a Virginia Creeper seedling (I've now seen several 'naturalised' plants in London and Bristol) seen on the left of a Smooth Sow Thistle in a crack between a wall and the pavement. Second this young leaf-curl disease free Peach tree, presumably grown from a stone discarded by a passer-by.

Natives along this capitulation to the motor car of a road included several Hops (including one growing, appropriately enough, over a building sporting the sign 'Maison Maurice Wholesalers to the Licensed Trade'), Common Mallow, Great Willowherb, a large stand of bracken marching through a formal shrub bed towards the Bexleyheath Conservative Party HQ (nature will win in the end), Woody Nightshade and Lesser Swine Cress.

The real highlight on Albion Rd is in the grass by the tile shop, at the junction with the Broadway. This is Hare's-foot Clover (Trifolium arvense) - an annual plant 'frequent to locally common, especially in the east and south east', but which seems to be uncommon in London as far as I can make out. Here there are around 31 separate plants, 29 of them in a roughly 12' by 2' strip. Ever since I discovered them back in April I've been coming back to see if a decent number of flower heads were out for a photogarph. There would have been a couple of weeks ago were it not for a typically indiscriminate and over-zealous mowing regime which had decapitated earlier flower stems. Indeed it looks like they can only persist because of being part-protected by a metal fence and being on a fall-off slope at the edge of the grassed area (see pictures).

By garages on Russell Close (off Woolwich Rd) was, amongst other things, a vigorous Dwarf Mallow (top), with its procumbent habit and pink flowers and there was a good show of flowers on a White Bryony (below), a relative of the Cucumber, on the edge of Russell Park.

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