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OBSERVATIONS ON THE TWENTY PLANTS LISTED IN THE 1952 BOTANICAL CIRCULAR C O M P I L E D BY F .

W.

SIMPSON.

Aconitum Napellus, L. Monk's-hood. Naturalised, casual or relic of cultivation. Notfrequent. A polymorphe aggregate. The native segregate, Aconitum anglicum, Stapf., has not been observed in Suffolk. It has light green foliage and somewhat narrower leaf divisions. A local plant of shady river banks in S.W. England and Wales. A. napellus. One plant in a damp wood at Bamham— A. L. Bull. One plant at Foxhall. The tubers are very poisonous and are therefore frequently removed from gardens Some years ago a number were thrown out of a Henley Road garden, Ipswich, into Tinker's Hole ; these I collected and planted in my garden where they have increased and flower freely, although in some seasons the flower buds are spoilt by caterpillars.—F. W. Simpson. Hesperts Matronalis, L. Dame's Violet or Sweet Rocket. A garden escape and naturalised in a number of areas beside streams and in damp meadows. Very common in the West of Ireland. Ditch bank at Thorpe Morieux. Formerly on the steep banks of the stream in the chalk cutting at Offton, but destroyed when the road was widened.—F.W.S. Saponaria officinalis, L. Soapwort. Fairly frequent. Hedgebanks and waysides and on the sites of former cottage gardens. T h e form with double or semi-double flower is more frequent as it is an attractive garden flower. Grows in profusion on the outskirts of a wood and upon the green at F.lveden Crossroads, both single and double varieties (H. J. Boreham and F.W.S.). The former colony is very fine. Roadside at Friston, both single and double flowers (Countess of Cranbrook, Hon. Mrs. A. Watson and F.W.S.). Roadside bank between Wickham Market and Mariesford, Singleflowers (Lord Cranbrook, Miss N. Cracknell and F.W.S.). (This colony was formerly very extensive and occupied a Stretch of the hedge-bank for about 100 yards. It was nearly all destroyed in 1946-7 when the road was widened and the bank removed. However, a few pieces survived and are now beginning to spread. Fornham St. Martin, double flowers (B. D. Jones). Grassy heath and roadside, Eriswell (Mrs. M. Southwell). Doubleflowered forms at Hintlesham, Burstall, Boxford, Sproughton, Handford Road and Rope Walk, Ipswich (one Rope Walk


OBSERVATIONS ON PLANTS

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colony has recently been destroyed), Tostock, near Hemingstone Hall, West Stow (also singleflowers),Sizewell, Minsmere, Gedgrave, Martlesham, Woodbridge (also single flowers), Melton, Shottisham, Dunwich and Walberswick (F.W.S.). Agrostemma githago, L. (Lychnis githago (L.) Scop.). Com Cockle. Formerly a very common weed, now scarce. " Found on the edge of afieldof rye on the road from Sudbourne to Snape in the parish of Iken. My housekeeper's little boy of 11 also brought me in a piece from a rye field on Rookery Farm, Snape. There was quite a lot where we found it on Sudbourne Road " (The Dowager Countess of Cranbrook, 23rd June, 1952). Mr. P. J. O. Trist reports : " After some investigation I was unable to establish how the seed arrived on the farm, but it is, of course, likely that it may have come in with the seed corn." Casual at Felixstowe Docks (F.W.S.). Geranium pratense, L. Meadow Cranesbil. This attractive species is uncommon in Suffolk as a " native," however, it occurs as an escape from cultivation. In a disused gravel pit, Rougham Road and the banks of the River Lark at Bury St. Edmunds. Six plants when first found in 1942, now reduced to three, June, 1952. They are being destroyed by the tipping of rubbish (H.J.B.). Found by a schoolgirl at Grundisburgh (N. R. Kerr). A few plants at Rattlesden (B. D. Jones). One plant on the site of a cottage garden at Combs Ford. Almost certainly wild at Walberswick and possibly so at Thorpeness (F.W.S.). In the orchard at Aspal Hall (Mrs. Wightman, verified by Mrs. Youngman). Casual by roadside, Kentford, 1950 (Mrs. M. Southwell). " If you want a specimen of Meadow Geranium you can get it in my back garden. I suppose the seeds came with garden plants from Cheshire " (Miss J. C. N. Willis). Alchemilla vulgaris, agg. Lady's Mantle. Very rare and may now be extinct in Suffolk. For many years it grew sparingly in an old grassy lane at Cockfield, W. Suffolk, but the lane has now been spoilt by farm traffic and there was no trace of any specimens in May, 1952 (F.W.S.). The Cockfield plant was Alchemila vestita (Buser) Raunk, and not A. filicaulis Buser as originallv identified. Claytonia perfoliata, Willd. This North American alien is now very frequent and often abundant on sandy soils in many areas, especialy Breckland plantations and waysides. It occurs on light boulder clay at Stowmarket and Wickham Market, but has not been observed on the really heavy soils.


64

OBSERVATIONS ON PLANTS

Bupleurum rotundifolium, L. Hare's-ear, Thorough-wax Formerly a weed in cornfields in West Suffolk, near Bury. A casual at Felixstowe Do6ks and it has come up twice in recent vears in my garden at Ipswich, probably from the discarded bird-seed (F.W.S.). Smyrntum olusatrum, L. Alexanders. Formerly cultivated as a ' pot-herb Very common and naturalised on sandy soils in every coast parish. More sparingly distnbuted in other areas, though not rare and sometimes abundant In several places about Bury in great profusion (H.J.B., B. D. Jones, F W S ) At Heveningham and Framlingham (JN. K. Kerrj. Eye Castle (P. J. O. Trist). Hadleigh, Boxford, Hintlesham, Westley (F.W.S.). Viscum album, L. Mistletoe. Parasitic on various trees rarely on oak. Decreasing in Suffolk as many of the old trees (chiefly Black Poplar) and hawthorn hedges on which it formerly grew have now been cut down. , Six branches on Pear at Horringer (B.D.J.). On Apple Stoke-by-Nayland (F. H. A. Engleheart). On Elm Old Newton Hall (P.J.O.T.). On Black Poplar at NettĂźestead, Willisham, Barking, Haughley, Whepstead and the Gipping Valley between Claydon and Needham Market. On Hawthorn at Willisham, Haughley, Ickworth and Norton. On hme at Wetherden and Haughley. On Field Maple at Woolpit (destroyed 1952) (F.W.S.). Centaurea cyanus, L. Cornflower, Com Bluebottle. Local. Fields are now kept too clean by spraying and cleaner seedgrain for the liking of the botanist. Only one main Suffolk locality reported this year. Along the border of a field of oats on the farmland of Smallbndge Hall Bures; field adjoining road leading from Bures to Nayland" (Dr. Grace Griffith). Dr. Griffith informs us that the cornflower only appears when thefieldhas a crop of com but is not seen when roots are grown. Un the road between Nayland and Bures, near Wissington in afieldjust before and abutting on Creams Farm. The plant can be seen from the road through a gate gap The field falls steeply down towards the River Stour. Part ot the field is quite blue with it, and as it is seeding now as weh as flowering, the cutting of the barley crop is not likely to affect its survival" (Mr. John Nash, R.A per the Dowager Countess of Cranbrook). In a com field at Haughley. Casual on dumps and waste places at Aldeburgh, Felixstowe and Ipswich (F.W.S.). Senecio squalidus, L. Oxford Ragwort. Introduced On waste eround, especialy bombed sites, railway embankments and ballast. Rapidly spreading along the railways. Roadside


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casual, Mildenhall, 1946 ; Barton Mills, 1950-52 (Mrs. M. S.). Plentiful in the dock area of both Lowestoft and Yarmouth (E. Norfolk) (Miss L. Long). Recorded for Lowestoft in 1918 by W. A. Dutt. About Ipswich in many parts of the town ; Ipswich Station area, Princes Street and Ranelagh Road. Between Ipswich and Bury at Claydon, Stowmarket, Haughley and Bury. Woodbridge and Melton. Frequent about Felixstowe (F.W.S.). Calluna vulgaris (L.), Hull. Ling or Heather. Common on sandy soils of the east and north-west of Suffolk. Rare on other soils and almost absent from the boulder clay. Newton Green, near Sudbury. The soil is gravel, and the Ling is very stunted, and evidentlv a fair amount of calcium drains into this high level gravel from the surrounding boulder clay. Formerly on decalcified boulder clay at Castlings Heath, Groton. Part of the heath was then used for rough grazing, and the top spit of soil was very turfy, and had not been ploughed for many years (F.W.S.). Erica cinerea, L. Bell-heather or Fine-leaved Heath. Frequent on sandy soils of the east and north-west-, No records received for the Boulder Clay. Pyrola rotundifolia, L. Larger Wintergreen. No records received. I have searched in vain all its former habitats where it has not been seen for very many years. A decreasing species everywhere (F.W.S.). Borago officinalis, L. Borage. Introduced. A garden escape, favoured by bee-keepers. At Monk's Eleigh (Hind's Flora) where it has persisted for many years. Reported by several observers. Waste ground, situated in a field called the " Leg of Mutton," Rougham Road, Bury, June, 1952 (H.J.B.). At Tuddenham St. Martin and Burstall, on wayside banks (F.W.S.). Polygonum bistorta, L. Snake-root, Bistort. In damp meadows. Not frequent and decreasing. Mariesford (Miss N.Cracknell). Grundisburgh, found by a schoolgirl (N.R.K.). Between Wenhaston and Haiesworth (Miss H. Ellis). Minsmere (P.J.O.T.). Gipping Valley near Claydon, and meadows by the River Brett, Chelsworth. Formerly abundant in a meadow at Nedging, but this habitat was ploughed up. I removed some roots to my garden where it spreads rapidly, and is frequently a nuisance to other plants. Suitable for wild water-gardens, and I will supply plants to any member who cares to apply (F.W.S.). Daphne mezereum, L. Mezereon. No records received. Probably extinct as a wild species in Suffolk and only to be seen


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OBSERVATIONS ON PLANTS in gardens. This attractive flowering shrub would not remain for long unnoticed in the wild, and not be transferred by cottagers to their gardens.

Tulipa silvestris, L. Wild Tulip. Meadows and orchards. One clump near the River Gipping at Sproughton, where it has been seen for several years. T h e sohtary flower produced most years is too attractive and soon gets picked (F.W.S.). Said to occur near Debenham (Miss B. CopingerHill). This is most likely the Snake's-head Fritillary, the locals all refer to this flower as the " Wild Tulip." Myrica gale, L. Bog Myrtle, Sweet Gale. Very local. Barnby Broad. Mr. P. J. "Burton informs us that the late Mr. Claude Morley used to visit the bushes at Barnby for a certain i n s e c t / b u t the keeper then burnt them down to keep naturalists away. Lakenheath (B.D.J. and R. G. Rutterford).

ECOLOGY

AT

MINSMERE

THE marshes of the Minsmere level, with the exception of one field on high ground on which the ruins of the first monastic house at Leiston stands, were all marsh grazings in 1939. 1;he level is divided by a wide ditch, the New Cut. T o the north of this ditch is an internal bank which now forms a central access through the Nature Reserve which has the old Minsmere river as lts southern boundarv. T h e land between the old river and the New Cut forms part of Eastbridge farm and the Lower Abbey farm and it is in this area that I propose to record the p l a n t l i f e which continued to change with altering conditions from 1947 to 1951. A part of the subject of plant ecology is the study of plants which appear and disappear with changes in conditions brought about by man's intervention or neglect. Whilst there are exceptions to most rules, it is true to say that most plants have a natural set of conditions in which they choose to thrive e.g., the flora of the heath enjoy poor acid conditions and will not naturally grow on heavy clay land of high fertility. Whilst I did not know Minsmere in 1939, my knowledge from examining marshes on the level which were not so senously affected, leads me to believe that the sward was made u p as follows : bents (Agrostis spp.), crested dog s tail (Cynosurus cristatus), perennial ryegrass (Lohum perenne), fescues (Festuca spp.), wild white clover (Trifolium repens), rush (Juncus spp.) and other typical marsh sward weeds.

Observations on twenty plants  
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