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GLEANINGS FROM A BOTANIST'S

DIARY.

129

GLEANINGS FROM A BOTANIST'S DIARY. BY

FRANCIS W .

SIMPSON.

LANDGUARD Common at Felixstow, Suffolk's most southerly projection into the sea, claims as yet to he one of the hnest hunting-grounds for rare aliens and natives in this part of the country. Diotis maritima, Cass., once grew a little to the north of the old f o r t ; and tnere is a specimen f r o m this loeality, preserved in the Ipswich Museum Herbarium, collected along with other Suffolk rarities t j w a r d s the close of the 18th and early in the 19th centuries. Extensions to the fort, erection of modern Royal Air Force buildings and the growth of the new town, are rapidly reducing the open common area. T h e annual invasion of vast crowds of trippers leaves the grassy shingle and sand ridges strewn with litter. So recently as this year the solitary clump of the very rare Suffolk Orithmum maritimum, L., was destroyed : it just happened to be where the authorities decided to dig a hole for a concrete post and to lay a pipe. Increasing numbers of beach boxes or huts and new houses have ruined the large area where Eryngium maritimum, L., and Poa bulbosa, L., were so abundant. It does not seem to me likely to be long before the remaining open space will be enclosed by the government with a high iron spiked fence. T h u s this famous Common, raised from the sea, first as an island that was included in the administration of Harwich, will become lost again to the botanist.

Besides the rarities usually to be seen about the Common, the following species, some new to the County, were found during July, and kindly identified at the Herbarium of the Royal Botanic Gardens at K e w : Sisymbrium Orientale, L. (New to Hind's Flora) ; Rapistrum hispanicum (L.) Cr. var. hirsutum (Cariot) O.E. Schulz, (NEW to Suffolk); Erucastrum gallicum (Willd.) O.E. Schulz ( = Brassica or Erucastrum Pollichii); Hirschfeidia incana (L.) Lagreze-Fossat, probably, but very young, NEW to Suffolk) ; Erucaria alpepica, Gsertn., earliest correct name perhaps Erucaria hispanica (L.) Druce, (NEW to Suffolk); Raphanus sativus L. ; Hemizonia pungens, Torr, and Gray, (NEW to Suffolk); Plantago Lagopus, L. (NEW to Suffolk); Vaccaria pyramidata, Medik (Saponaria Vaccaria, L.), (Note in Hind says Oulton Broad, a casual) ; Agrostis gigantea, Roth. (Agrostis nigra, With), (New to Hind's Flora); Phalaris paradoxa, L. var. praemorsa Coss. and Dur. (NEW to Suffolk); Phalaris minor, Retz. (NEW to Suffolk); Ammi majus, L. (Note in Hind's Flora—a stray among Lucerne, Cockfield, 1876); Hordeum vulgare, L. Several of these species or


130

GLEANINGS FROM A BOTANIST'S DIARY.

varieties may have been already found by other botanists in this County and comparison of records would be interesting. T h e flora of Felixstow and Landguard Common is very rieh and a complete survey would occupy an interesting and large proportion of the Transactions. Dipsacus sativus, L., or the Fuller's Teasel (NEW to SufTolk) was also found this year. Mention of such natives as Lathyrus Nissolia, L. ; Vicia lutea, L. ; Sedum album, L. ; Chenopodium Vulvaria, L. ; Atriplex laciniata, L. ; and Carex extensa, Good., to say nothing of numerous aliens like Centaurea solstitialis, L., should impel keen botanists to resist the enclosure of the Common. Viscum album. L. (Mistlotoe), was seen freely growing and flowering on a hawthorn hedge surrounding an old orchard in Willisham on February, 1936. It has long smothered the decaying fruit trees from which it hangs in great bunches. Asplenium Adiantum-nigrum, L. (Black Spleenwort), is quite a rare fern in Suffolk, but still grows sparingly in hedgebanks around Polstead on 27 February last. Asplenium Trichomanes, L. : the pretty little Maidenhair spleenwort is very uncommon in this County ; it was noticed growing on the walls of Butley Priory during the visit of this Society on 29 May. The (Henbane Hysocyamus niger, L.) was also seen near there, by M r . R. Burn. ' White-flowered Primroses and pale-whitish yellow coloured flowers of the hybrids with the Oxslip (Primula elatior, Jacq.) were observed again this spring as usual, blossoming in a small wood near Lavenham on 5 April. Viburnum Lantana, L. : one small tree of the rare Mealy Guelder Rose was observed growing in a thick hedge on the south side of Hardwick Park near Bury, on 2 May. Carex pallescens, L. (Pale Sedge) : although with only one local Fast Suffolk record in Hind's Flora, this sedge is quite frequent in most of the larger boulder-clay woods around Ipswich, as it is in those of west Suffolk. Ringshall, on 1 June, and Tuddenham on 9 June, 1936. Several speeimens of the rare peloriate form of Orchis mascula, L., were unexpectedly discovered in a wood at Cockfield on 24 May. White-flowered Hairy Violets (Viola hirta, L.) were seen in a rough bushy field in Badley on 23 April last. Senecio squalidus, L. : the Oxford Ragwort, an alien, originally found on old walls, especially in Oxford, has spread with the advance of the railway transport. It is now to be found frequently about railway sidings and on embankments : always to be observed about the goods yard and electric power Station at Ipswich, and the Pier Station sidings at Felixstow. Carex pseudo-cyperus, L. (Cvperus Sedge) : a very charming sedge that is not uncommon around the shady woodiand pools near Ipswich. Additional parishes to the one recorded


GLEANINGS FROM A BOTANIST'S DIARY.

131

in Hind's Flora for that district are Barking, Bramford, Hintlesham, Purdis Farm and Raydon. Lonicera Caprifolium, L. : the Perfloiate Honeysuckle was found profusely in an Acton wood this year. It extends in this wood over a large area of the fioor, where it would easily be mistaken for the Common Honeysuckle, and also climbs high u p into the large oaks. Only the climbing stems that reach the light seem to flower and produce the characteristic pretty connate leaves and small bunches of pale mauve, pink and yellow flowers that arise out of the terminal pair of leaves, joined together—saucershaped. One would consider it a native here, as no dwellings exist anywhere near and large, probably primeval woods have always covered parts of this, and the surrounding parishes. T h e herbs of the floor association include Primula elatior, Jacq., Asperula odorata, L., Lithospermum officinale, L., Habenaria virescens, Dr., Milium, effusum, L. Melica uniflora. L., etc. In a decaying tree towards the edge of the wood, a pair of Green Woodpeckers had bored a large hole and were in residence on 14 June last. Elymus Europaus, L. (Wood Barley) : found on 11 July 1936 at Witnesham, East Suffolk. NEW to Suffolk and Vice-county 25. This distinct native grass, usually of woods on chalk and limestones, has remained, until the above date, unrecorded for the Eastern Counties. An especially interesting record, as it reflects on how rare natives may become overlooked by botanists for a long period. The grass seems as if it has been peacefully growing in this small wood, once a portion of a larger one, on the chalky boulder-clay here for centuries. T h e soil apparently suits : as it is holding its own, but is not in any quantity. Unmolested it will exist in this spot for many more centuries. T h e grass looks similar in growth to Brachypodium sylvaticum, R. & S., or the False Brome Grass, before flowering, forming small tufts, but the leaves are a brighter green. T h e few spikes rise to about eighteen inches in height and, of course easily distinguish this species from the drooping panicles of the Brome Grass, which is very common on all soils containing clay or chalk. T h e herbs and trees of the wood were of the usual typcs found in this locality, and included Campanula Trachelium, L., Orchis Fuchsii, ' Dr. Orchis mascula, L., Milium effusum, L., Melica uniflora, Retz! In the surrounding corn-fields Valerianella dentata, Poll., var. mixta, Dufr., or the Hispid Fruited form of the Toothed C o m Salad was very common. Spring in the Autumn Woods: Every autumn one finds spring comes too early to some corner oi a wood. Primroses, Bßgle, Wood Scorpion Grass (Myosotis sylvatica, Hoffm.), Dog's Mercury and Dog Violets were already flowering in Hintlesham Wood on 25 October this year

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