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SOME FORMER SITES OF TU LI PA SYLVESTRIS SUFFOLK F. W .

L. IN

SIMPSON

T h e wild tulip was probably introduced into Britain by the R o m a n s and a number of sites where it still occurs, or has been reported, are on or close to Roman Settlements. At Hacheston there was an extensive Roman Villa. In addition to its present site in this parish there was formerly a colony on the wide grassy verge bordering the old Roman road from Hacheston to Easton, about half a mile from the road junction at Hacheston. A f t e r a tall hedge was cut down to field level conditions became unfavourable. No leaves or flowers have been seen for about twenty years. It is suggested that the present colony at Hacheston originated from bulbs removed from the Easton roadside verge. In 1932 Miss C. E. Harrison, the Headmistress of Sproughton School, brought a wild tulip flower to the Ipswich Museum for identification. The specimen was found at Sproughton by a girl pupil as her contribution to the school wild flower competition. I visited the site, then a grazing pasture, and was shown a well-established colony growing almost on the bank of the River Gipping. There were about a hundred leaves but no further flowers. Apparently the site had been known to a few locals for many years and I was told that there were never more than one or two flowers in any season. DĂźring the War the pasture was ploughed-up and an old willow which had given the colony some protection cut down. However the tulip survived until 1962, although ploughing continued to cut into the site and expose the bulbs. In 1954 there were six flowers. On the 30th April 1955, thirteen flowers were open, a unique occasion. In the following years the colony declined and no flowers were seen again until 1959 when two were observed on the 24th April. The colony was finally destroyed by agricultural activities. In the spring of 1961 I found that old cabbage stalks and other field debris had been deposited on this very site. 1 managed to remove the majority. I think that crop spraying finally exterminated the Sproughton colony, and no leaves could be found in 1962. All had not been lost for in 1954 a few bulbs exposed by ploughing were taken and planted in the grounds of Park House, Saxmundham. These have survived and increased, although I understand have never flowered. Trans. S u f f . Nat. Vol. 18 pari 1.


85

S O M E FORMER SITES IN S U F F O L K

T h e Sproughton colony was probably of ancient origin. Some years ago a large number of old walnuts were dredged f r o m the river near this spot. These were thought to date back to R o m a n times and possibly originated from the Roman Villa at Baylham. It is very feasible that a bulb was washed down from Baylham or another site and deposited at this point. A record of the late S. J. Batchelder, an Ipswich Botanist, gave a locality at Bury St. Edmunds. This was a small spinney, end of garden of 5, Southgate G r e e n , the property of Mr. & Mrs. B. Wolton. On a visit in 1955 I could find only a few leaves in the spinney. Mrs. Wolton had transferred bulbs to a rockery near the house, and two were flowering. On this site was once a small hospital for leprous maidens. In recent years road and other developments have taken place at Southgate G r e e n and there is now no trace of the spinney colony. A b o u t twenty years ago the Misses B. & R. Copinger Hill showed me an old pasture at Darsham where wild tulips had been found. Although we made a careful search we failed to find leaves or flowers. Hind's Flora gives 'meadow near D a r h s a m Hall'. At a talk on Suffolk Wild Flowers given a few years ago I showed a slide of the Hacheston flowers. Afterwards I was told that wild tulips used to grow on the site of a Romano-British Settlement at Ashbocking. A search of the area was unsuccessful. Various changes have taken place and I fear that the coiony has been destroyed. Bulbs of cultivated tulips are frequently thrown out with garden rubbish and can be found growing in various sites in the County: wayside verges, ditches, pits and edges of woods and copses. They rarely become naturalised. Sometimes they are recorded in error for Tulipa sylvestris.

40 Ruskin

F. W. Simpson, Road, Ipswich IP4

1PT.

Trans. S u f f . Nat. Vol. 18 part 1.

Some former sites of Tulipa sylvestris L in Suffolk  
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