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’.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

9/10/10: Erith miscellany includes Southern Green Shieldbug and Jasmine

Continuing my roundabout route home from Crossness, I took in a number of streets in Erith, London Borough of Bexley, that I had not botanised before.

The Sandcliff Road flora included Pellitory-of-the-wall, Green Alkanet, Annual Mercury, Herb Robert, Yarrow, Nipplewort and a single Wild Carrot, the last of these on a bank behind old factories.

Common Cat's-ear and White Clover were in a grass verge on Wheatstone Rd.

My first ever Southern Green Shieldbug (Nezara viridula) - possibly a 4th instar nymph according to LNHS expert Tristan Bantock - was found on Urtica dioica by the fence of a rough grassy area next to disused factories off Sandcliff Rd, by Footpath 18. TQ 50631 78353. A recent arrival in the UK, this species is native to Africa, but has been frequently brought in with food imports. Reportedly widespread in southern Europe, it has been recorded annually in southern Britain since 2003.

Southern Green Shieldbug (Nezara viridula) - possibly a 4th instar nymph - was found on Urtica dioica. This is a one-handed, significantly-enlarged mobile phone camera picture taken in poor light, hence the slight lack of sharpness

In an alleyway between Friday Rd and Alford Rd. were several small Sun Spurge and also escaped Strawberry.

This demolition site on Fraser Rd has been vacant for a couple of years, but used to have a lot more vegetation. It looks like it has been part 'sanitised' by bulldozer simply for the sake of applying a warped notion of tidiness to everything and anything. Can't it be left to the wildlife until proper work begins?

Seed heads of Wild Carrot seen through chain link fence and green plastic mesh present an ethereal, slightly artistic picture of the site margin

Another bit of 'greenspace' destined for the chop - once the economy 'improves', one suspects - is the former Erith Tramways Depot site by Walnut Tree Rd. It ought to be possible to leave a goodly belt of trees round the perimeter, and I hope that's what will happen .......

White Melilot, recorded here last year, was still present on the Tramways Depot site, and Narrow-leaved Ragwort has also found its way to this patch of ground.

I was rather taken aback to see a Red Admiral flutter overhead on the adjoining Cricketers' Close at 17.18, in what were not sunny conditions.

On the railway cutting sides just south of Erith Station and the Bexley Road overbridge a Greater Celandine was noted, also an Asparagus plant. There were a number of Ash trees, and a circa ten feet tall Turkey Oak (Quercus cerris) carrying acorns.

Not having run my botanical eye over Queens Rd. before, this Jasmine (probably officinale ) growing out from under several trees (left foreground) and over the railway fence just past the Avenue Rd. footbridge, was most surprising. Given the location it seemed unlikely that it had been planted, but I have never seen it as a garden escape before.

Further down the line there was quite a lot of Elm.

There was Spotted Medick on Thanet Rd, lots of Buck's-horn Plantain at Boundary Street and a Greater Celandine behind the derelict 'Style and Winch' public house on Northend Rd. Black Horehound was by a housing estate here.

It was by now rather gloomy, but I was cheered by coming across a fourth site in the Borough for the uncommmon plant Dittander - on a mound at the south-east corner of a grassy area by flats on Northend Rd, next to a garage/petrol station. This neatly fills in a gap between my other three locations which are Thames Road Wetland, part way up Thames Rd towards the junction with Northend Rd and then the south east corner of the Erith Quarry site.

A Senecio cinerea above a retaining wall at the top of the hill on Colyers Lane appeared to be outside the garden boundary, and had the look of an 'escape', though it might conceivably have been planted. There was also a lone Narrow-leaved Ragwort here.

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