2023 County Report for Surrey

Ann Sankey

One of the main projects for Surrey Botanical Society (SBS) was working with Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) to compile an Inventory of Irreplaceable Grasslands for Surrey. SWT are providing the technical support etc and the project is supported by NE Despite being a relatively well recorded VC, we were delighted to find some previously unrecorded unimproved grasslands spread throughout the county. Apart from the species mentioned below, there were few rarities but a pleasing range of grassland axiophytes. These include Achillea ptarmica (Sneezewort), Crassula tillaea (Mossy Stonecrop), Hypochaeris glabra (Smooth Cat's-ear), Jacobaea aquatica (Marsh Ragwort), Moenchia erecta (Upright Chickweed), Oenanthe pimpinelloides (Corky-fruited Water-dropwort), Saxifraga granulata (Meadow Saxifrage) and Succisa pratensis (Devil’s-bit Scabious). Campanula rotundifolia (Harebell) Ranuculus flammula (Lesser Spearwort) and Potentilla erecta (Tormentil) are not even scarce in VC17 but we did find a good number of new sites for these species. SBS is also continuing to record sites within monads.

Carex filiformis (Downy-fruited Sedge)

One of the saddest new finds in 2023 may be for Carex filiformis (Downy-fruited Sedge) in an unimproved field near Thorpe, spotted by Barry Phillips. Sad because this field currently lies in the path of the River Thames Flood Relief channel. EA are now aware of this important field but it seems it was missed when the planned route was drawn to avoid the adjacent SSSI.

Chamaemelum nobile (Chamomile)

Chamaemelum nobile (Chamomile) – believed lost from Godstone village green was pleasingly refound by the sharp-eyed Caroline Bateman.

Lysimachia minima (Chaffweed)

Lysimachia minima (Chaffweed) found on field meeting on rutted muddy path at Blindley Heath SSSI. This species is mentioned in the citation but this was the first time it had been recorded by SBS there. Also, first VC17 record since 2009.

Eragrostis virescens (American Love-grass)

Eragrostis virescens (American Love-grass), was spotted by Geoffrey Kitchener growing in a crack in paving during the joint meeting with Kent in Rotherhithe and North Deptford and was subsequently determined by Eric Clement. It is the first VC 17 record and seems to be only the 3rd UK record.

Sisymbrium loeselii (False London-rocket)

Sisymbrium loeselii (False London-rocket) was found by Caroline Bateman in Godstone on outer edge of verge by road serving the Sibelco sand quarry.

Galium parisiense (Wall Bedstraw)

Galium parisiense (Wall Bedstraw) was found in a new hectad at Thames Ditton by Simon Riley.

Calystegia sepium subsp. spectabilis (Hedge Bindweed)

Calystegia sepium subsp. spectabilis, seen scrambling over rough vegetation at the edge of Ashtead Common in a power-line wayleave (see attached). Flowers appeared darker pink than remembered for C. sepium f. colorata and on examination plants showed the rounded basal leaf-sinus of subsp. spectabilis.

Populus × canadensis ‘Marilandica’