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ICKLINGHAM PLAINS by

P. J. O.

HABITAT STUDY TRIST

AT the south tip of Icklingham Plains where one road turns west to Mildenhall and the other north-west to join the NewmarketThetford road, there is a small open area of breck, where over 100 different species of plants including twenty species of grasses, can be found in less than the Square of 100 yards. In addition to some interesting light land plants and some which in the county are confined to the Breckland, there are two contrasting ecological studies of acidity and alkalinity. On the B.1112 roadside, Saxifraga granulata flowers in the spring. This plant is still common in the Breckland but is rapidly disappearing elsewhere. Late in May, Dianthus deltoides and Silene otites together with Medicago x varia, the fertile hybrid of M. falcata a breck species, and M. sativa Lucerne. At the tip of the triangle there is a good colony of Anthyllis vulneraria with plants of the subsp. vulneraria var. langei. There are a few plants of Chenopodium bonus-henricus by the road. This area which further up the slope has been disturbed, probably for sand digging, is alkali. The sides of the excavated banks are comparatively bare but a close look will find Trifolium striatum and T. scabrum, Catapodium rigidum, Erigeroti acris, Medicago minima and Silene otites. Also Phleum phleoides and Apera interrupta, two uncommon grasses and confined in Suffolk to the Breckland. On the grassy banks there are plants of Vulpia myuros, Phleum arenarium, Koeleria gracilis, Thymus serpyllifolia, Myosotis discolor, Filago minima, Circium acaule and Ornithopus perpusillus. The soil of the undisturbed piain above the level of the roads is very acid and the variety of flora is much reduced in number of species. The dominant is the grass Festuca ovina with Agrostis tenuis, Helictotrichon pratense, Anthoxanthum odorata and Koeleria gracilis, the only grass common to both conditions. Other plants in this area include, Campanula rotundifolia, Senecio jacobea, Hieracium pilosella, Galium verum, Crepis taraxifolia and Calluna vulgaris. The colonisation of the latter is typical of parts of the breckland with small isolated circular patches some two or three yards in diameter.

Icklingham Plains-Habitat Study  
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