Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Flower Map

At my drop-leaf table

I am bent like a snowdrop over pages

of my January nonsense

with a flower-map as guide.

The revised Atlas of Kent Flora has arrived, after two decades of preparation by the redoubtable Eric Philp, and it's a labour of love......... thousands of records of about 2,500 species in 1043 tetrads, all apparently seen by the author.

The comparisons with the previous Atlas in 1982 is fascinating, we can clearly see the gains and losses.

It's also useful (if saddening) to know that an expert plant-hunter has sought but not found some species that I've failed to find...... like Deptford Pink at Sandwich Bay and Common Dodder on Deal seafront, which both seem to have disappeared from these places. Wild Candytuft is apparently still to be found on the downs at Folkestone though.

One of the greatest gains is shown by Danish Scurvygrass (note: it's a native species, despite its name), which was reported to be "rather scarce" and found only by the sea in 17 tetrads in 1982......
.....but having "suddenly found another niche" along salted roads, has spread to at least 209 now:
Hours of fun will be had by the fireside, comparing the two atlases, writing notes in the margins and planning "planty twitches" for the summer.

Incidentally, the cunning clear perspex grid that accompanied the first book is almost (but not quite) the same size as the new maps.

While considering maps, the Kent Landscape Information System (K-LIS) is useful, showing SSSIs, Local Nature Reserves etc, and also so-called Local Wildlife Sites that, although giving no right of access or change in status, at least acknowledge the habitat assets of a place.

The extract below shows as an example that the golf course and camp site are both designated as Local Wildlife Sites, and if (Gold forbid) there were to be a planning application to build on either of them, this status should alert the public of their status.Planning applications........ don't get me started........ talk about a charter for NIMBYs.


Greenie said...

Steve ,
I can see a birthday present in the offing .
I've had a quick look at the K-LIS , looks very interesting too , will look further on wet cold days .
Was that a slip in the last paragraph , or is that who you pray to !

Warren Baker said...

An incredible bloke that eric Philp. Wish I had his patience :-)

Steve Gale said...

Steve, I have mixed thoughts about the book. I do admire the authors sheer determination, but why not include all records gathered by the many good field botanists in Kent? I can understand his wanting to check critical species, but even a basic botanist like me can look at those maps and see blank dots for some (commonish) species that should be filled. On the whole though a book that is well worth the money.

Kingsdowner said...

That was just a dream (that's me in the corner)

Warren, indeed (although you if anyone comes close)

Steve, as a mere amateur I can only gaze in awe.