New plant records for Bexley, including one for ‘botanical Kent’

Rodney Burton, author of the most recent London flora, has written to report a number of interesting plant finds in Bexley, and there has subsequently been a new species for the whole of the Kent botanical recording area located in the Borough, which falls within Vice-county 16, West Kent.

Two tufts of Luzula pilosa, not seen during a 2010 survey, but recorded some years previous to that, were found in Bexley Park Woods during a LNHS meeting on April 30th 2016. Also a single tree of Salix x erhartiana, of which all trees in Britain are male and appear to have been planted. Rodney would be interested in any information which might indicate how long ago in the case of this specimen.

Salix x erhartiana in Bexley Park Woods (Rodney Burton).

Salix x erhartiana in Bexley Park Woods (Rodney Burton).

On 14th May Rodney found numerous plants of Upright Chickweed, Moenchia erecta, on the hill at Hall Place North. This is a scarce plant in Britain, but is very small and only really noticeable for 5 weeks a year. It is still on Dartford Heath, was at Blackheath many years ago and is found in a few large London parks.

Moenchia erecta, Upright Chickweed. A nationally scarce plant now found at Hall Place North. (Rodney Burton)

Moenchia erecta, Upright Chickweed. A nationally scarce plant now discovered at Hall Place North. (Rodney Burton)

Rodney has also found a third site in the Borough for Corky-fruited Water Dropwort, this time in the Little Mascal Farm area.

Chris Rose spotted a single plant of Urtica membranacea, an annual Mediterranean nettle,  in a planter outside the Prince Albert pub on the Broadway, Bexleyheath, and just over the road from the Council HQ, on 3rd September 2016. The identification has been confirmed by Rodney Burton and by Geoffrey Kitchener of the Kent Botanical Recording Group. Both believe it is the first record in the wider Kent botanical recording area, which as well as the administrative county of Kent, extends into south-east London and encompasses the London Borough of Bexley.

Urtica membranacea, thought to be the first ever record in wider Kent, has popped up opposite the CouncIl offices in Bexleyheath. (Chris Rose)

Urtica membranacea, thought to be the first ever record in wider Kent, has popped up opposite the Council offices in Bexleyheath. (Chris Rose)

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