2022 County Report for Dorset

Robin Walls

Lobelia urens

For the first time at the Silverlake translocation site three flower spikes were found outside the enclosure where Hurst Heath plants were planted. Work is planned to control the sallow and other shrubs threating to overwhelm the site. Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) is also doing well

At Hurst Heath, the donor site, the vigorous Molinia growth and bramble need controlling. A working party is planned for February with the help of Alaska.



In September Dr. Fred Rumsey gave us a workshop on British ferns at Kingcombe. After lunch he showed us some of the ferns and horsetails in the reserve.

In October he returned to Dorset to investigate a 2018 report from Mark Gurney of oak fern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris) at Arne.  He found two patches of around 20 small plants after a lot of searching.

This is a site well outside its known range in Britain. As a remote site on private land and introduction is unimaginable.


Dorset Rare Plant Register

A second addition to the Rare Plant Register is Valerianella rimosa (broad-fruited cornsalad). Alex Mills re-found this along the coast path; first sighting in Dorset since 1987.

The species has suffered a 74% decline in area of occupancy in England.

Currently there are 341 taxa in the DRPR. 141 of these are of least concern (LC) and the reminder range from Near Threatened to Extinct in the Wild.


New Records

Astragalus glycophyllos (wild liquorice) was found in a small wood at Chettle during an SNCI survey early in the year. From the very young sheets Carolyn Steele and Mariko Whyte worked out what it was. We returned later in the year to confirm the identification. (photo M.Whyte)

This is a third site for Dorset in an area of what might have been an extensive Cranborne Chase woodland. There may be other plants in the remnant copses scattered across the farmed landscape.


Illecebrum verticillatum (coral necklace) is a small plant that occurs sporadically in Dorset. It is more common in the New Forest. It may be spreading. Jon Crewe and Robert Sharp found it at Lower Common, Verwood.


The most extraordinary new find for the county this year was Juncus capitatus  (dwarf rush).  Bryan Edwards found several hundred plants in the tightly mown U3 grassland with bare areas this at RAOC, West Moors. This is the only site outside Cornwall and the Channel Islands, apart from a declining population in Anglesey; and the most inland site. One can only imagine seed was carried on military vehicles