Ancient woodland rarity Hypericum pulchrum procreates at Martens Grove

The ancient woodland indicator Slender St. John’s-wort (Hypericum pulchrum), rare in Bexley, has vanished from a number of local woods in living memory – such as Bexley Park and Bursted Woods – probably due to lack of coppicing, though various documents and websites claim it can still be seen in some of these places.

Plants can certainly no longer be found at Bursted, but a couple of years ago five plants were found together in woodland at Martens Grove. This spring some 54 seedlings have been counted, and these seem to be surviving well, with a couple now 5cm tall.

Slender St. John's-wort (Hypericum pulchrum) has vanished from several local woods, but seedlings are doing well at Martens Grove this year. (Photo Chris Rose)

Slender St. John’s-wort (Hypericum pulchrum) has vanished from several local woods, but seedlings are doing well at Martens Grove this year. (Photo Chris Rose)

Seedbank longevity for this species is reported to be 200 years, so it will be interesting to see if it reappears in any location where coppicing may in the future be re-instituted.

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