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Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 31

COCHLEARIA DANICA L. ON SUFFOLK ROADSIDES, UPDATED TO 1994 E. M. HYDE In 1986 I described how the salting of trunk roads in Suffolk had created conditions suitable for certain salt-tolerant species to colonise the verges and central reservations (Hyde, 1986). The plant most intensively studied was Cochlearia danica L„ Danish Scurvy-grass. Its spread, frequently in great abundance, was traced along the A14 (then A45) across the County from Felixstowe to the Cambridgeshire border, and along the A I 2 , on which, at that point, it had not advanced very far. The first inland sites in which I discovered this species were on the A l l in the Chalk Hill cutting near Barton Mills in April 1980, and the second was on the A12 on the Woodbridge by-pass in April 1981. This update will show to what extent the position had changed by 1994. In 1993 M. D. Crewe carried out a detailed survey of the verges of the A l l and A14 from Six Mile Bottom to Bury St. Edmunds. I have been able to make use of his records. They have been particularly valuable in helping to correct one or two errors in my 1986 map in TL66. Only records from 1993, 1994 and a few last-minute additions from March 1995, have been mapped.

Cochlearia danica on major roads in Suffolk

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 31 (1995)


COCHLEARIA DAN1CA L. ON SUFFOLK ROADSIDES

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A14, Felixstowe Docks to the Cambridgeshire border Since the 1986 survey the number of sites on this road has increased, but the colonies are much smaller. This is not surprising in view of the major roadworks that have occurred in the intervening years. Crash barriers have been erected, central reservations reconstructed and various drainage schemes carried out. Cochlearia danica recovers from these onslaughts, but it takes time. There are surprisingly, only a few small patches on the Felixstowe Dock Spur, but it becomes more plentiful as the road passes the Trimleys and the Seven Hills junction. It is abundant on both approaches to the Orwell Bridge. One small plant flowered under the crash barrier on the bridge itself, in a crack in the barren concrete, possibly the only living plant for over a mile! It is again abundant at the Copdock Interchange on all roads that converge upon it and there are impressive colonies on the roundabouts beneath the road at the Claydon and Needham Market junctions. Further towards Bury St. Edmunds the five-mile gap, noted in 1986 in TL96, has been filled and colonies occur fairly regularly as far as the Cambridgeshire border and, of course, beyond (see Coombe, 1994). A l l and B1085 (a section of the former A l l ) This road has been completely reconstructed in the Red Lodge and Barton Mills area in recent years. Cochlearia danica in the Chalk Hill cutting has been drastically reduced, but is, at least, still there. Dr. D. E. Coombe reports another All site noted in 1994, extending over some few hundred metres, from the top of the hill by the Howe Hill tumulus towards Horn Heath. There are also numerous small colonies on the B1085 at Red Lodge on both sides of the road, beginning about 30 metres from the R. Kennett on the Suffolk side almost to the telephone box at TL696703. A12, Stratford St. Mary to Lowestoft It is on the AI2 that the picture changes. Cochlearia danica is still at Stratford St. Mary where it was first discovered in 1983 by G. Kitchener. Since 1986 it has spread abundantly over long stretches, particularly in the Martlesham and Wickham Market areas. Where the road is not dualled and is uncomfortably narrow, it can be seen almost on cottage doorsteps. On a sharp bend in one village it grows on a narrow strip of verge only a few feet from cottage doors. Near Wrentham, and doubtless elsewhere, it lines the asphalt footpath which runs between the verge and the roadside hedge. It is then not visible from the road. More colonies would come to light if one walked all the footpaths! More searching is needed in the Kessingland area. A140, Ipswich to Norwich Recorded for the first time in 1994! It is, however, certain that two colonies at least have been there for some time. Sites are given in detail, since they break new ground. (i) TM 108543-112548, at junction of A14 and AHO. Abundant on central reservation and verges on short, dualled section nearest the junction.

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Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 31

(ii) TM 115577, near Creeting Bottoms. Not dualled. Cochlearia on verge on W. side of road. Small colony. (iii) TM 119607, on verge on E. side of road, near Magpie Inn. Not dualled. Small colony. (iv) TM 119631, verge on E. side of road near old airfield. Not dualled. Small colony. (v) TM 119640, abundant on verges of disused section of road on E. side, looking like a short, dualled Stretch. (vi) TM118730, verge on E. side of road near Bulls Hall. Not dualled. Small colony. A search was made as far as the Norfolk boundary, but no more came to light. Minor roads It would be surprising if Cochlearia danica did not also occur on less important roads. There follows a selection of other such recent records. A143 (i) TL873653, Great Barton, M. Searle, 1991. (ii) TM066762, one plant on edge of road at Wortham, M. Sanford, 1993. A137, Ipswich to Manningtree (i) TM 155409, on traffic islands above the A14. These colonies come into flower extremely early and are a signal to me to Start the annual search. Also seen on the hill down to the Ipswich boundary. (ii) TM 134385, verge alongside Alton Water (C. J. Hawes pers. comm.). A154, from A14 to Felixstowe town, centred on TM295360, several patches on verge. A1069, two patches on verge near Rendlesham, TM 349541, and on verge near Knodishall, TM429603. A1094, on verges in the parish of Friston and on the outskirts of Aldeburgh. A1095, verges on the outskirts of Reydon. B1113, on a short dualled section in Gt. Blakenham, TM 119506. Perhaps the most surprising sighting was in Kesgrave on the edges of grassy verges in the built-up area along the old A I 2 , now the AI214. Abundant from c. TM 222458 to 237461! All mown shortly after I saw them in the spring of 1994. Records have been communicated to me personally in the past two years by Dr. D. E. Coombe, C. J. Hawes, S. J. Leach and F. W. Simpson all of whom 1 wish to thank. Records from the verge survey by M. D. Crewe have been gratefully acknowledged earlier in this account.

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 31 (1995)


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References Coombe, D. E. (1994). 'Martime' plants of roads in Cambridgeshire (v.c. 29). Nature in Cambridgeshire 36: 37. Hyde, E. M. (1986). Maritime plants on Suffolk's roadsides. Trans. Suffolk Nal. Soc.,22: 50. E. M. Hyde, Parkside, Woolverstone, Ipswich, Suffolk IP9 1 AR Fascinated by fungi These remarkable drawings were made at Riverwalk School in Bury St. Edmunds where the children suffer from severe learning difficulties, often combined with severe physical disabilities. They were made by Randa, Donna and Emma, who then had a chronological age of between eight and nine. They represent a fungus, one of the many Russula species with a red cap and whitish gills and stalk. it is shown upside down, i.e. looking down on the gills. It is very hard to gain and keep the attention of many of the children at this school (where I am proud to be a governor) but clearly they were interested in the fungus, which reflects the dedication of the teacher. Geoff Heathcote

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Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 31 (1995)

Cochlearia danica L on Suffolk roadsides, up-dated to 1994  
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