Saturday, 20 June 2009

Kent Red Data book online

A good day, close to home, including our annual midsummer bonfire on the beach with fish'n'chips. The local populations of pyramidal and fragrant orchids have emerged from nothing apparently overnight, with about 30 of each on the approach to the golf club, and another 20 or so pyramidal on the undercliff.
Also newly emerged are three stems of oxtongue broomrape, which had been threatened by a small cliff-fall, but although numbers are down on previous years the colony has happily survived. The picture shows its host, hawkweed oxtongue with its leaves with the purle line down the centre of the 'tongue'.
I have recently found an online publication of the Kent Red Data book which makes fascinating reading although some is rather out-of-date. Much of the information on plants comes from Eric Philp's Atlas, of course. On this particular species, it reports thus:

Orobanche artemisiae-campestris Nat Status RDBEN Kent RDB Status 2
oxtongue broomrape Legal Status WCA8 BAP Status C
Orobanche loricata
Distribution This plant is confined to unstable chalk-cliffs in southern England, including the Isle of Wight, Sussex and Kent. In Kent there are three separate colonies on cliff ledges in the Dover area.
It occcurs in cliff top, species-rich, chalk grassland with kidney vetch, restharrow, salad burnet, hairy hawkbit and hawkweed oxtongue. It parasitizes composites including hawkweed oxtongue, but there may be other host species from different genera. It is taxonically close to common broomrape.

Also along the undercliff were the first marbled whites of the year.

An infestation of black bugs gave the hawkbit/hawkweeds a strange appearance.
Wild carrot
I was very pleased to see a small blue on the range by a clump of kidney vetch - more next year please!There were also plenty of common blues feeding on the swathe of horseshoe vetch.

And finally a clump of toadflax has come into comes summer!


Warren Baker said...

Has horse shoe vetch any distinguishing features from similar plants ?

Greenie said...

Steve ,
Thanks for flagging up the Kent Red Data book .
Had a quick flick through it , but it needs a 'can't get out' Winter's dat to do it justice , so will save it for then .
You're well ahead with the flowers again , I was looking at Common Toadflax at Fackenden last visit , and no sign of flower .
That Oxtongue Broomrape sounds your sort of things , hanging off cliff edges .

Kingsdowner said...

Warren, hoorseshoe vetch is only found on chalk, so that should help you!
I find it a b.... to distinguish from birds-foot trefoil, so go to the leaves. The vetch has a neat 'ladder' of vetch-like leaves and the trefoil has a set of five.

Greenie, there's plenty of meat in the red would be helpful to un-pdf it to make it easier to search.
I'm looking forward to finding out what spiny-mouthed tephritids are.

Warren Baker said...

cheers steve. It won't take long to find out if their is any on my patch, any wildflower is scarce here!

Anonymous said...


Mel Lloyd said...

13 stems of oxtongue broomrape (she says tentatively) at Kingsdown Undercliff today. Obviously I didn't pull any flowers apart to confirm id, so it's a guess really.

Kingsdowner said...

Hi Mel, good to hear from you again!
The only broomrape that I've seen on the undercliff is Ox-tongue, so I expect you're right. There were only six spikes there last week, so it's good to hear that more have arrived.
Any further obsercvations would be welcomed!

Mel Lloyd said...

I suspect there will be more than those I counted as some plants wer very small and I didn't want to trample any hidden or coming up so didn't look too assiduously. I wonder if there are any plans to save/move some of the plants if they are threatened by further slippage? Would be crazy to lose them...
I noted the general spread of (admittedly beautiful and colourful) non-native species at Kingsdown. I found a red yellow horned poppy at Sandwich Bay today though. Got rubbish photo 'cos of driving wind and rain!