2022 County Report for East Kent

Geoffrey Kitchener & Sue Buckingham

This report covers Kent as a whole, both East and West, vice counties 15 and 16.  As at 1 January 2023, a total of 29, 844 records for 2022 was added to the BSBI database; 85% were entered via the vice county recorder(s), the remainder are subject to validation.  Recording activities were undertaken through the Kent Botanical Recording Group (KBRG) who held ten programmed field meetings, reported in a newsletter issued November 2022.  An account of the status of the Kent Flora and developments over the last ten years was provided to the Kent Nature Partnership and published in July 2022 at: https://kentnature.org.uk/state-of-nature/chapter-5-the-state-of-kents-species/


The year was notable for the completion in December of the draft rare plant register (RPR), which has taken 11 years, comprising 1,241 pages of accounts for 334 plants.  The RPR’s annual update was completed in Spring 2022 and provided to BSBI for the Kent webpage, but it was not taken on board and only the previous, February 2021, version has been available for public viewing.  KBRG members have been consulted on the next phase of the RPR: its conversion from draft to final, and the prospective impact of Atlas 2020.  Recording of RPR plants remained a priority through 2022, with 1,536 records made.  Special surveys and reports were undertaken for Kent Biodiversity Strategy species, which included recording 3,529 spikes of Orchis purpurea (Lady Orchid) across 26 sites.


Himantoglossum hircinum (Lizard Orchid) was counted as over 3,000 spikes at Betteshanger Country Park, amounting to the second largest population in the British Isles, although at the same time the developer-owner sought to develop over the colony, digging up and moving the orchids.  The scheme has its supporters, but there has been widespread opposition.


Following designation of the Swanscombe peninsula (threatened by development) in 2021 as an SSSI, further surveys have shown even greater botanical riches, e.g. Alopecurus aequalis  (Orange Foxtail); Geranium purpureum  (Little-Robin); Pyrola rotundifolia  (Round-leaved Wintergreen) in tens of thousands; Rumex palustris  (Marsh Dock) with its hybrids; Rumex × heteranthos and Rumex × wirtgenii.

Carex × elytroides (Carex acuta × nigra)

Carex × elytroides (Carex acuta × nigra) has been found for the first time in East Kent, at Dungeness, in the absence of C. acuta (Slender Tufted-sedge).

Convolvulus arvensis L. var. stonestreetii (Field Bindweed variant)

Convolvulus arvensis L. var. stonestreetii, a Field Bindweed with narrow strap-like corolla-lobes, was recorded for the first time in Kent, at Oare Marshes

Orobanche caryophyllacea (Bedstraw Broomrape)

Some 60 spikes of Orobanche caryophyllacea (Bedstraw Broomrape) were discovered inland near Canterbury, perhaps the third largest population nationally.

Persea americana (Avocado)

A first county record in the wild for Persea americana (Avocado) was reported, in remote East Kent woodland.

Ranunculus × novae-forestae (New Forest Crowfoot)

At least two of our Kent sites for Ranunculus tripartitus apparently hold Ranunculus × novae-forestae (New Forest Crowfoot), identified in 2022, so re-evaluation is needed for all sites.