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BOTANICAL EXCURSIONS IN EAST SUFFOLK by F. W. SIMPSON

THE publication of the botanical excursion, " Iter Litorale ", of Dr. Sutton and Mr. Kirby to Orford during August, 1787^ has prompted me to relate some of my observations on the flora of this interesting area, made during several expeditions which commenced one hundred and thirty seven years later, in 1924. On one hot day in early August of that year, with my mother and sister, I set off from Ipswich at about 5 a.m. to walk to Butley. We always made very early starts on our frequent excursions into the comparatively unspoilt countryside. Although my knowledge of wildflowerswas limited, I was able to recognise the majority of common kinds and some which were more local. The open country commenced just beyond Lattice Barn on the Woodbridge Road, the electric tram terminus. Kesgrave consisted of only a few scattered houses and small cottages. Many more wildflowerscould be found on Rushmere Common than today. Heath Groundsel (Senecio sylvaticus) still grows freely on parts of the Common and on Martlesham Heath as it did in 1787. The hump-backed bridge over the River Deben at Wilford had not been replaced, nor had any bushes of Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) been planted. Prickly Lettuce (Lactuca virosa) was observed. Wild Celery (Apium graveolens) is not so plentiful today, much having been destroyed during the repairs of the river embankment. Beyond the bridge on the left-hand side of the road, near the road junction, the attractive Wavy Hair-grass (Deschampsia flexuosa) could always be found until a few years ago when the bank was cut back and a wire fence and concrete posts erected. The small wood and alder carr before you come to Bromeswell " Cherry Tree " was then open to the road. The Welfords had a house built on the corner. Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium) still occurs there in great plenty. The wood used to be beautiful in Spring with its Primroses, Bluebells, Kingcups and Moschatel (Adoxa moschatellina). Numerous small springs arise from the Red Crag outcrop, a habitat that the Golden Saxifrage enjoys.


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BOTANICAL EXCURSIONS IN EAST SUFFOLK

Just beyond the " Cherry Tree ", and on the same side of the road, at the point where a small stream, flowing from the Golf Course passes under the road, there was an important little marsh, a sanctuary for local rarities. This was the spot, no doubt, where Dr. Sutton and Mr. Kirby collected Common Cotton-grass (Eriophorum angustifolium) and Yellow Loose-strife (Lysimachia vulgaris). This marsh was filled up in 1950 to make a parking place for lorries of a local contractor, and is now unused. Many of our most interesting habitats of rare flora are of such small extent that it is a tragedy that we cannot do something to preserve them, and prevent them being continually filled with rubbish, or ploughed up. In this marsh grew also Buckbeam (Menyanthes trifoliata), Spotted Orchis (Dactylorchis fuchsii), Marsh Orchis {Dactylorchis praetermissa) with many very fine hybrids, Yellow Sedge (Carex demissa), Brown Sedge {Carex disticha), Star Sedge {Carex echinata), and other species. The road from Bromeswell to Butley was not then sign-posted, nor was it made up. The country soon became very open and wild with extensive views, a most exciting terrain to the young naturalist. There were no new plantations ; Rendlesham Forest had not been commenced. Far away across Sutton Walks, Long Plantation of Georgian date seemed to dominate the sky-line. There were certainly more birds about in those days than we ever see today, with great flocks of Larks, Linnets, Finches and Stone Curlew. In the direction of Hatchley Barn many sheep were feeding on some cruciferous crop. At Spratt's Street we passed the cottages mentioned in the 1787 journey. On a bank on the right-hand side of the road, the scarce Clustered Clover {Trifolium glomeratum) was found. The way from Spratt's Street to Staverton Forest and Thicks was then only a very rough sandy track across open heathland, where Sand Sedge (Carex arenaria) was dominant. On that day the loose sand was such that cyclists had to walk, no cars could have negotiated this way. Staverton is the finest relic of an Oak-Holly forest left in Britain. Similar forest covered much of this area in ancient times. In my schoolboy days fragments existed in a broken-up pattern from the Deben to the Aide. Tangham Forest had been burnt down, felled and re-planted with conifers. There were the great woods of Sudbourne, Iken Wood was unfelled, and vestiges remained at Eyke, Chillesford, Tunstall, Boyton, Sutton and Hollesley. Except at Staverton, nearly all the ancient trees have been removed during afforestation and farming activities. The Giant Wood Ants (Formica rufa) have deserted Staverton, where they formed great mounds. The last place in Suffolk I saw them was Assington Thicks, some 25 years ago. Claude Morley considered them now extinct in the County, they may possibly survive around Fritton.


BOTANICAL EXCURSIONS IN EAST SUFFOLK

In recent years some of Staverton has changed. towards the Butley river is used for grazing.

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An area sloping :*„r I

After looking at the Thicks, we went down the Iovely cool Beech Tree Avenue to inspect the Abbey Gate. A view extends across to Orford Castle and the Martello Tower at Slaughden. Most of the land in the vicinity was fallow. After a picnic lunch and rest, we commenced our return journey, arriving home about 11 p.m. On excursions during subsequent years, after I had a cycle, I was able to explore the territory beyond Butley, and found the flora much as described in 1787. The marshes about Butley, Chillesford, and Capel St. Andrew were very rieh and beautiful with some especially fine Marsh and Spotted Orchids, Bistort (Polygonum bistorta), and at one spot there was a large patch of a fully double flowered Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi ßore-pleno), a form I have seen nowhere eise. These marshes have now been drained and ploughed up. Marsh Helleborine (Epipactis palustris) was still to be found a few years ago at Butley. Oenanthe pimpinelloides was probably wrongly identified for Oenanthe lachenalii which is still frequent in this marsh. Frog Orchis (Coeloglossum viride), a species of old horse pastures, no longer can be found, nor can Knotted Spurrey {Sagina nodosa). A fine colony of Musk Mallow ( M a l v a moschata) grew for years in a pasture next to Butley Mill until it was cultivated. Another colony of this beautiful Mallow at Creeting Hills has been destroyed (Autumn 1959) in building a bungalow on its very habitat. It was a disaster when Wantisden Bogs (south of Drydale Bottom and mainly in Chillesford Parish) were drained, bull-dozed and ploughed-up a few years ago. T h e flora of this most fascinating sanetuary was partly aboriginal, and was probably fairly wellknown to the local naturalists at the period when Dr. Sutton and Mr. Kirby visited Orford. T h e y were no doubt informed, as the actual spot was a little off their route. For over a decade I visited these Bogs to see the Round Leaved Sundew (Drosera roturidifolia), Bog Pimpernel (.Anagallis tenellä), Cross-leaved Heath (Erica tetralix), Heath Spotted Orchis (Orchis maculata), Pill Sedge (Carex pilulifera), Milkwort (Polygala serpyllacea), Purple MoorGrass (Molinia caerulea), Heath Rush (jfuneus squarrosus), Bucklerferns (Dryopteris lanceolatocristata, D. dilata), and Bog Moss (Sphagnum). Common Cotton-Grass (Eriophorum angustifolium) was abundant. Wild Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) may still be seen on the fringe.


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Very little of Sudbourne Park was cultivated and it was a good area for the botanist. The Coralline Crag comes to the surface here and there, and there are still exposures in small quarries. A calcicole flora existed with Wild Thyme (Thymus pulegioides), Carline Thistle (Carlina vulgaris), Dwarf Thistle (Cirsium acaulon), and Wild Basil (Clinopodium vulgare). Basil Thyme (Acinos arvensis) is now rare, but was formerly frequent, especially in a quarry at the junction of the Sudbourne-Iken-Orford roads, where there were fine bushes of Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides). The Coralline Crag in this quarry is very hard, and formerly was excavated as a building stone. The quarry is now enclosed and planted with conifers. Sickle Medick (Medicago falcata) and the hybrid ( M . falcata x sativa) still exist sparsely at Sudbourne, Gedgrave and Orford, but Sheep's Scabious (Jasione montana) I cannot recall seeing nearer than Tangham Forest and Snape. At Orford many of the plants mentioned may still be found. King's and Lantern Marshes on the other side of the River Ore are not grazed as formerly, and are now much spoilt by various Government establishments. However, many of the plants recorded can still be found. Danish Scurvy-grass (Cochlearia danica) still occurs in some plenty on parts of the shingle. The plant recorded as Chenopodium maritimum may possibly have been an Orache (Atriplex species). Sea Pink {Armeria maritima) extends for acres over certain areas, especially on the old grassy ridges, and forms a sight of considerable beauty when in fĂźll flower at the end of May or early June. Sea Campion (Silene maritima) is likewise abundant and most attractive. Yellow Vetch (Vicia lutea) occurs from Orford Ness to Bawdsey, and has much increased during the last 30 years. Dr. Sutton and Mr. Kirby on their trip to Bawdsey must have landed somewhere near East Lane. T h e coast has changed a great deal in recent years. When we first visited Shingle Street, Walking from Ipswich by way of Sutton, Shottisham and Alderton, we found the coast quite wild and deserted, the road from Hollesley was but a rough cart-track. From East Lane to, the mouth of the River Deben almost every high tide would then reach the cliff face causing much erosion which was good for fossil-hunting, especially for those found in the Basement Bed, and for collecting fine crystals of Selenite from the London Clay. The beach was sandy and most attractive, with no shingle accumulation as at the present time. South of the cliffs beyond Bawdsey Manor the beach was much wider and extended like a miniature Landguard Common, half blocking the mouth of the River Deben. That area was one of my favourite hunting grounds for several local rarities, Little Bur Medick (Medicago minima), Sea Kaie (Crambe maritima) and Sand Cat's-tail (Phleum arenarium). I should think that in 1787 sand dunes must have existed at the base of the cliffs which were more open and exposed than to-day,


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as Bawdsey Manor and the plantations did not exist. Traces of these dunes persisted in one small area on the face of the cliff, and were visible up to recent times before this place was enclosed. Sea Sandwort (Honkenya peploides), Lyme-grass (Elymus arenarius) and Marram (Ammophila arenaria) occurred there in recent years, but Sea Holly (Eryngium maritimum) and Prickly Salt-wort (Salsola kalt) had become extinct at this spot, although both can still be found less than a mile away near the Ferry.

VEGETATIVE PROLIFERATION OF GRASSES AND PHYLLODY OF CLOVERS By

P. J.

O.

TRIST

PROLIFERATION in grasses has been observed at least since the time of Linnaeus and many reports and experiments have been published. Langer and Ryle, (1958) have not only clarified the former confusion in the distinction of conflicting terms which have been used under the general heading of proliferation, but have determined the cause of proliferation.

In " vegetative proliferation ", i.e., where there is vegetative growth from a floret in the absence of a seed, two reasons have to be considered. In some species of grass, vegetative proliferation is genetically determined as in Festuca vivipara Sm., and Poaalpina L. var. vivipara. In others, the cause of proliferation is now shown to be due to insufficient exposure to the hours of daylight required by a species to enable it to effect fĂźll ear formation. As a distinction between vegetative proliferation and vivipary, it was suggested by Arber (1934) that the latter should be referred to as true vivipary, where the seed germinates whilst still attached to the parent plant. Most observations on grass proliferation have been made late in the season. In the autumn of 1958 and 1959, several observations were recorded in Suffolk of proliferations on Dactylis glomerata L., Cynosurus cristatus L. andLoliumperenne L. Records show that proliferation is also recorded for Agropyron repens Beauv, Alopecurus pratensis L., Arrhenatherum elatius L., Festuca rubra L., Phleum pratense L., Poa trivialis L. and Deschampsia caespitosa Beauv.

Botanical Excursions in East Suffolk  
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