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Spilonota ocellana
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Essex Field Club
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Essex Field Club

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EFC Centre at Wat Tyler Country ParkWe are closed due to the Covid-19 situation, but we are otherwise normally open to the public at our centre at Wat Tyler Country Park every Saturday, Sunday and bank holiday 11am-4pm, check. We are also normally open on Wednesdays 10am-4pm.

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This forum has now been more or less replaced by the Club's Facebook page at
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The weblog below is for naturalists to use to report interesting sightings, ask questions, report on field meetings and generally post pictures and any information or questions generally relevant in some way to the wildlife and geology of Essex. You will need to register and be logged-on to post to the forum, and you need to upload pictures first, for use in posts. Find out more

Fri 29th July 2011 19:32 by David Miller
Water-plantains (Alisma lanceolata and A. plantago-aquatica)
I'm entering dangerous ground as I'm attempting to be intelligent today. Alismas have been frustrating me for some while as we occasionally have A. lanceolata Narrow-leaved Water-plantain at Walthamstow Marsh, but I've never satisfactorily identified it, until today! I was never quite satisfied with doing it on just leaf shape and flowering time-of-day and the only other character is trickily described as 'styles arising c 1/2 way up fruit or in upper half'. Unhelpfully these arise inside the whorl of fruits and so you can't see them without carefully picking the fruits apart. This is normally outside the limits of my patience but I think I've got there now (I'll add a photo shortly).

Common Water-plantain is very common in the marsh's ditches but Narrow-leaved Water-plantain only seems to occur some years and is of course much less common when it does. It is currently showing well in the northern most ditch on the marsh by Coppermill Lane, but will get sprayed along with the abundant Crassula helmsii at some point. I notice that it is and Essex RDB plant. I've no reason to think it isn't native here. Feel free to deflate me with my conclusions if you think I'm wrong.

Keeping with the marsh the Creeping Marshwort Apium repens is having another really excellent year and the Brookweed Samolus valerandi is on a new high too as I counted about 115 flowering plants today and there are probably a similar number of rosettes. These are at the opposite end of the marsh to Coppermil Lane. Now is a good time to visit, though it's worth letting the Rangers know you're doing so (Tel. 020 89887565) as it's a sensitive area and there are 7 cows, Belted Galloways, in the southern field now. There are of course plenty of other good plants to see.

Reagrds, David Miller



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