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Over the study period covered by my 'Brambles of East Anglia' (Bull, 1985) I came across a number of specimens, especially in the Breck district of west Suffolk, of which E. S. Edees commented - 'Similar to Rubus britannicus Rogers, but not identical with it.' Reference to Edees & Newton (1988) reveals that their knowledge of the species is from - 'A set of British Rubi 105, 1895.' I understand that these were a shade-grown series of specimens differing considerably in respect of leaf indumentum (hairs on the surface) and other important points. The distribution of R. britannicus given shows it to be a regional endemic confined to East Sussex, East and West Kent and North and South Essex. Most of the records given in the 'Flora of Essex' by S. Jermyn were made in fairly recent times by J. Ironside Wood, but the late B. A. Miles considered that these did not match Roger's type specimens. More recently, A. Newton collected specimens from several places in Essex (AN pers. comm.) which he named as true R. britannicus. I have also collected specimens which AN determined as being R. britannicus from Danbury Common; High Beech, Epping Forest; and Garnett's Wood, High Roding in Essex. On July 27, 1989, I was with a party of Batologists ( = those who study brambles) taking part in the Botanical Society of the British Isles 1989 bramble meeting in North Devon. At a site near West Holland we encountered a bramble which I felt to be the same as that mentioned above from parts of the Breck district. Several specimens were brought back from Devon, and on August 2, 1989,1 drove to Warren Hill, Cheveley, Cambridgeshire, which is in V.C. 29, though to the east of Newmarket. Here, the Breckland plant is dominant, and a series of specimens was collected for comparison with those from Devon and Essex. Later, a parcel of dried specimens was sent to AN, including material from West Molland (Devon), Cheveley (Cambs.), Barton Mills (west Suffolk), West Tofts (west Norfolk), and Danbury and High Roding (Essex). I suggested that all must be R. britannicus or that none was. AN replied that now material of R. britannicus has been studied from a wider range of habitats than had hitherto been possible he was able to confirm that all the specimens sent to him were indeed R. britannicus. Shortly afterwards, I received a parcel of brambles for comparison with East Anglian species, from Mr. Herman Vannerom of Diest, in Belgium. One of the specimens had the query beside it: 'Is this similar to R. britannicusT To which I replied that it was, and that AN had seen it and agreed that the species also grows in Belgium (at a place called Halen). Thus the distribution of R. britannicus in Britain can now be extended from V.C.s 14-19 to include V.C.s 4, 26, 28 and 29. Moreover, it can no longer be regarded as a narrow endemic, as there are doubtless other sites on the nearer parts of the continent. I have specimens in my Herbarium from Tuddenham Heath (Aug. 13, 1971. TL77); plantations west of Cavenham (frequent, July 18. 1978, TL67) and Barton Mills (roadside belt, July 16, 1979. TL77).

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 27 (1991)



References Bull, A. L. (1985). Bramble Flora of East Anglia. Watsonia 15, 361. Edees, E. S. & Newton, A. (1988). Brambles of the British Isles. Ray Society. Jermyn, S. T. (1974). Flora of Essex. Essex Naturalists' Trust Ltd. A. L. Bull, Hillcrest, East Tuddenham, Dereham, Norfolk, NR20 3JJ

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 27 (1991)

Further notes on the Brambles of Suffolk.  

Alec Bull

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