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’.

Monday, 6 July 2009

6/7/09: Through Bexleyheath and Martens Grove

There was a very late flower head of Alexanders at the top of the railway cutting by the path from Bursted Woods past the hospital site. All other specimens have died right back.

The Hare's-foot Clover by the end of Albion Road is doing well:

I get the distinct impression that Starlings have been making a bit of a comeback in these parts in the last couple of years. I counted (fairly accurately) 132 on the 'central tower' and 'netting' on the roof of The Mall, Broadway.

There were tens of adult Rosemary Beetles on Rosemary plants by the former Woolwich Building Society premises on Watling Street. These alien beetles also chew up Lavender, and are now frequent in the area.

A single specimen of Aaron's Rod (Verbascum thapsus) was noted behind the fence round a disused car park past the 'Coach House' pub. I've seen the odd specimen here and there in Barnehurst, but it's not common hereabouts.

Buck's-horn Plantain was in the grass outside flats at 74 Watling St.

Martens Grove:

I hadn't been here for years, never mind botanised the place. In fact the last time I passed through, I was out on a long run - more than 15 years ago.

There was a large amount of Lesser Swine Cress in the gutter of the approach path opposite Park Grove.

Good variety of trees, some no doubt planted, including Pedunculate Oak, Sessile Oak, Silver Birch, Cherry, Hornbeam, Sweet Chestnut, Ash and Spindle.

I was pleased to find a heathy ridge with several Broom, Bracken and Silver Birch.

This bank, where there has been some slippage, shows the thin layer of organic matter overlying sand that is a common feature of the area, including my garden, and the large number of rounded stones in the ground. Some Wood Sage was growing above.

The most interesting species finds were:

Common Calamint (Clinopodium ascendens), a new Bexley record for me, mainly growing in and at the foot of a substantial retaining wall. Said to be locally frequent in the south of England, rare to the north.

Butcher's Broom (Ruscus aculeatus). Uncommon, though these days quite often seen in amenity plantings. No way of knowing if this got here 'naturally' or is a garden escape. There were no other specimens around, but it wasn't far from some gardens. What appear to be leaves are, in fact, flattened stems.

There was also a modest patch of Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica), with its pungent, somewhat unpleasant leaf scent, and light beetroot-purple flowers. This was a bit of a weed on one of my Bristol allotments, but seems fairly infrequent in these parts. I've also found a small amount of it behind the 'up' platform at Barnehurst railway station.

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