A young Black Bryony (Dioscorea communis) plant, found growing just outside the main entrance to the English Garden in Danson Park by Chris Rose on June 3rd, is only the second record in Bexley in the last decade.
All told there have been less than 20 records of this species in the Borough in the last 30 years. Apart from a book stating that it was seen in Lesnes Abbey Woods sometime between 1918 and 1924, almost all the other records are from plants in the Cray valley area, mainly Ruxley, Footscray Meadows, Gatton’s Plantation and Joydens Wood, with the most recent cluster of those finds being made back in 2003. Chris also found it in woodland at Braeburn Park in 2011, not far from where it had been noted by a previous recorder back in 1997.
Black Bryony is related to edible Yams, but is poisonous. It is not closely related to the White Bryony, Britain’s only native member of the Cucumber plant family, which is widely distributed in the Borough.
Also in Bexleyheath, the fairly rare London species, Hare’s-foot Clover (Trifolium arvense), continues to survive in the grass verge on Albion Road near where it joins the Broadway. The species is frequent in a few sandy parts of the Borough, and there was also a superb show of it on the former Erith Riverside swimming pool site last summer.