Thursday, June 14, 2012

Return to Shirley Moor

Back on the Moor again today,  Bit warmer, but still not exactly 'flaming June'.

I ventured a little further down the footpath leading due east from just beyond New Bridge, past marsh mallow and waving false oat grass along the dyke side.

At the end (TQ9450132026) I found a plant of swinecress, Coronopus squamatus, growing in the corner of the field and looking like a vegetable starfish.  It is a species I have come across from time to time before, but never growing quite so flat as this.

20120614 Coronopus squamatus 2

A little further on was a rickety bridge and the path continued up the hill through a wheat field towards Appledore.  I think anyone would have been reminded of the lines from Rudyard Kipling's poem Puck's Song.

See you the dimpled track that runs
All hollow through the wheat?
O that was where they hauled the guns
That smote King Philip's fleet!

Though I hope no one had been hauling guns up the hill with the intention of smiting anyone here.

20120614 Wheat footpath, Shirley Moor

To the south another series of ditches snaked away towards the rising ground picked out the lacy white flowers of hemlock water-dropwort, Oenanthe crocata.

20120614 Oenanthe crocata, Shirley Moor

The plant is poisonous in all its parts.  Indeed, the 18th century botanical illustrator Georg Dionysius Ehret, claimed that he was nearly overcome by its fumes when he was drawing the plant in a poorly ventilated studio.  I hope the combine harvester doesn't gather it along with the wheat.

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