Friday, March 10, 2006

Killingan Wood

A walk on a sunny, windy afternoon up the lane to Killingan Wood. Most of the hazel catkins are turning brown now and dying and the white sepals on the snowdrops are starting to curl inwards. Only March and some things have already had their season.

In the wood, still very much a winter wood, I spent some time looking for unusual mosses on some of the banks and fallen logs, but they all seem to be quite common species. One of the most obvious is the swan-necked thyme moss, Mnium hornum, with many plants now fruiting in their elegant way.

I searched for the small bush of spurge laurel, Daphne laureola, that I have known for many years in this wood. It is the only plant I have ever seen growing truly in the wild in our part of East Sussex and it flowers alone at this time of year. It was still there with its small, lime-green trumpets nestling in the uppermost leaves, but the March-hungry rabbits had snipped off one or two of the lower branches and left them lying uneaten on the dead oak leaves.

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