Sunday, July 05, 2015

Marsh Ragwort

Just reflecting on yesterday's SBRS (see yesterday's post for link) trip around Landport and Offham marshes. I have only managed to get to a handful of SBRS meetings over the last three years, but each time I am awestruck by the knowledge of those I have the pleasure to tag along with. Of course I am utterly useless on such outings, the purpose of which is botanical recording in the round or sometimes specifically for 'missing' records in the area being covered. These are the people who go out across every square mile of our county recording its plants to accumulate data that allows us to know how the nature around us if fairing. They are rarely, if ever, acknowledged by the 'public', yet without them the countryside that the public so enjoy would be impoverished; without them we wouldn't know the damage that invasive species might be reeking; without them we wouldn't know about the decline in biodiversity resulting from poor land managment; without them we wouldn't know that efforts to rescue vulnerable habitats were working. As you might imagine, they are all lovely lovely people and I find them quite inspiring. 
There were probably thirty or more plants new to me on Saturday, each patiently pointed out and the identification features explained. One of my favourites was this, Marsh Ragwort or Senecio aquaticus. This has larger flowers than Common Ragwort and they are held apart so that none touches another. The leaves differ from the commoner ragwort species we may be familiar with. It grows with its feet in water so you won't find it on the Downs. 
It is declining in the South East so good to know some survives in the ditches around Lewes. 
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