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’.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

22/9/09: Celery, Sea-blite and Old Father Thames

This post covers observations on Crayford Marshes on a route from Ray Lamb Way, through a path in the industrial estate out the River Darent and up past the flood gate to its confluence with the Thames.

On this occasion I was helping two members of the London Natural History Society, one of whom is a much better botanist than I am, and who had come here specifically to check on the continuing occurrence of various species that are rare within the London boundary for a new publication on the same. My talent, such as it is, is that I have seen enough in the flesh - or books - to be able to pick out from the general mass of vegetation, the odd things that might be more unusual, even if I don't know what they are.

Plants along Ray Lamb Way included this large clump of Tansy, White Melilot, Narrow-leaved Ragwort (Senecio inaequidens), what my learned companion said was Guernsey (not Canadian) Fleabane and False Fox Sedge in a ditch.

Spirit of the marshes - mud and bird footprints

Marsh plants on the river side of the sea wall included this Sea Plantain (above), Sea Aster, Sea Couch, Sea Arrow Grass, Sea Milkwort and Atriplex patula.

One of the plants we were trying to (re-)locate was Annual Sea-blite (Suaeda maritima), which we found (foreground, right) in distinctly pebbly/grainy mud right next to the Darent flood gate.

Here's a closer view - yes, it really was that red-purple in colour. Also in this rather variable area were two Ribbed Melilot, Hoary Mustard and Greater Sea Spurrey. Although largely hidden under a mat of rank grass, I noticed three plants of what we identified as Wild Celery. I also spotted a solitary Small Copper butterfly.

My companions from the London Natural History Society by the footpath bank just north of the flood gate, where there was an array of colour variants of the Sickle Medick x Lucerne hybrid (see separate posting). In the foreground is Goat's-rue. A bit further along were two patches of pink, semi-double-flowered Soapwort.

The River Darent enters the Thames, with Essex beyond. There were half a dozen Lapwings on the mud here, along with Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed Gulls.

Also seen were a male Common Blue and a Red Admiral.

Several plants were found that we could not identify, so samples were taken to run past various specialists.

No comments:

Post a Comment