Saturday, 1 August 2015

Suspect Sorrels on Stocking Fen

Before the HFFS meeting at Monks Wood, I took myself off to Stocking Fen (VC31). My primary aim was to investigate the Woodland Trust plantation of Muchwood and Mary's Wood, but ultimately this turned into a much more rewarding trip onto the "fen" down as far as Ramsey Cemetery.

Corners of some of the arable fields had been put down to wildflower grassland, no doubt under a Stewardship grant, and were carpeted with Lady's Bedstraw (Galium verum), Fodder Bird's-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus var. sativus), Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) and Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra agg.). However, what caught my eye was a colony of an enormous Sorrel. This turned out to be Garden Sorrel (Rumex acetosa ssp. ambiguus), sometimes treated as a distinct species (R. rugosus).

Garden Sorrel, as in this case, can tower to 1.5m tall, has long floppy pale green leaves and large repeatedly branched panicles. My photographic skills let me down, so here is a photo borrowed from the Manual of the Alien Plants of Belgian website.

The other good find of the day was Dwarf Fool's-parsley (Aethusa cynapium ssp. agrestris) scattered along arable margins with Treacle Mustard (Erysimum cheiranthoides) and Sharp-leaved Fluellen (Kickxia elatine).

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