Sunday, December 29, 2019


Churchland is roughly the area I can reach on foot from my home.  Further details will follow but my general intent is to make it a series of searchable notes on the small part of the High Weald lying to the north of Sedlescombe Street.  My house, South View, is close to the centre of a rough pentagon of tarmac roads at OS grid reference TQ782188.  It is on Churchland Lane which runs as a unmade road towards the village, then a footpath, then a made road through Balcombe Green and finally down to the main road through the village via Long Lane.  It more or less cuts the area I call Churchland in half while to the west there is a series of fields known generally as Churchland Fields and a wood to the east of our garden called Churchland Wood.

Plants (Plantae)

Flowering plants, conifers and ferns

In this flora of Churchland plants are arranged in alphabetical order in their groups by scientific name.  I have included wild plants and the cultivated plants that can, in most instances, be seen from the roads or the footpaths.  I will add to it from time to time but it will be ages (or never) before all the species that grow in Churchland are listed.  All a bit like train spotting.  Nomenclature follows Stace (2019).  The New Flora of the British Isles, 4th edition.

Aquilegia vulgaris - Columbine.  Occasional as a garden escape.  Along 90 metre footpath TQ78371938, in gateway on Hurst Lane TQ78211943.

Arum italicum - Italian lords-and-ladies.  There are two species of  Arum in Churchland.  This one and A. maculatum (see below).  A. italicum with plain leaves (often knows as subspecies neglectum) is found wild in Britain only in the southern counties, usually near the coast..  Unlike A. maculatum the leaves emerge in autumn.  There is also a variety with whitish veins in the leaves (often known as subspecies italicum).  Plants with both plain and veined leaves occur here and there in Churchland, often originating as garden throw-outs.  There is a patch outside Jessmond in Churchland Lane with both plain and veined leaves.

Anemone nemorosa - Wood anemone.  Common in many woodlands, especially on clay soils.

Arum maculatum - Lords-and-ladies.  Also known as cuckoo-pint and wild arum.  Unlike the above the leaves appear in late winter or early spring and often have purple spots.  It occurs in woods and hedgerows across the area.

Asplenium adiantum-nigrum - Black spleenwort

Athyrium filix-femina - Lady-fern

Asplenium scolopendrium - Hart's-tongue fern

Buxus sempervirens - Box.  Widely planted in gardens for hedging and topiary.

Chrysosplenium oppositifolium - Opposite-leaved golden-saxifrage.  Occasional in ditches and damp places.

Cupressus lawsoniana - Lawson's cypress

Cupressus x leylandii - Leyland cypress.  Common as a hedgerow shrub and sometimes allowed to grow tall, e.g. by the car port at Woodstock in Churchland Lane.  There is a variegated example with some creamy white shoots among the green in the hedge at Dino's in Churchland Lane close to the junction with Hurst Lane

Equisetum arvense - Field horsetail

Berberis - Barberries

Bergenia sp. - Elephant ears.  One plant on the edge of Killingan Wood.  Probably B. crassifolia from Siberia.

Blechnum spicant - Hard-fern

Calocedrus decurrens - Incense cedar

Caltha palustris - Marsh marigold.  Scattered in the wild in Sedlescombe.  Occurs in the pond in Tresco, Churchland Lane and the pond in Red Barn Field.

Chelidonium majus - Greater celandine.  Has occurred as a casual in Churchland Lane.

Clematis vitalba - Traveller's joy, Old man's beard.  Churchland Lane in the hedge where South View meets Little Oaks.  There are many garden Clematis species, hybrids and varieties grown in the area.
Dryopteris affinis - Golden-scaled male-fern

Dryopteris carthusiana - Narrow buckler-fern

Dryopteris dilatata - Broad buckler-fern

Dryopteris filix-mas - Male-fern.

Ervilia hirsuta (formerly Vicia hirsuta) - Hairy tare.  I have only seen this in the garden at South View where it is a persistent weed in flower-pots.

Ervum tetraspermum - Smooth Tare.  Common in gardens and along hedgerow bottoms as well as in tough open ground.

Eschscholzia californica - Californian poppy.  Widespread in gardens.

Ficaria verna - Lesser celandine (formerly Ranunculus ficaria).  Common along waysides, hedgerows and field edges as well in more open parts of woodland where it can flower as early as mid-January.  There are four subspecies recorded in Britain.

Griselinia littoralis - New Zealand broadleaf, New Zealand privet.or kapuka in Maori.  An evergreen shrub often used for hedging, especially near the sea.  There is a mature hedge of this species (with some beech mixed in) by Churchland Lane along the front fence of The Pantiles.

Helleborus argutifolius - Corsican hellebore.  Only in gardens in Churchland.

Helleborus foetidus - Stinking hellebore.  Cultivated in gardens but not recorded in the wild in Churchland.

Helleborus orientalis - Lenten-rose.  Only in gardens in Churchland.

Hyacinthoides x massartiana.  This is the 'Spanish bluebell' commonly encountered as an escape in and around gardens.  It is a hybrid between the true Spanish bluebell, H. hispanica, and our native species.  Distinguishing the Spanish bluebell from x massartiana needs care.

Hyacinthoides non-scripta, bluebell.  A widespread and common species in most woodland in the area.  Its scientific name has changed several times over the years and there is also much confusion with the Spanish bluebell with which it hybridises (see above). Stories are frequently published about the danger to our native bluebells from this hybridisation but this does not appear to be a threat in Churchland.

Hylotelephium telephium ssp. fabaria - Orpine.  (Formerly Sedum telephium).  Grown in gardens but also quite widespread in local woods and hedge banks.  In Churchland it occurs in one place on the eastern bank of Hurst Lane.

Ilex x altaclerensis - Highclere holly.  Frequent in gardens, usually as one of the variegated forms.  A plant of the variety 'Golden King' (in fact a berry-bearing female plant) occurs in a hedge at Cherry Croft on the eastern side of Churchland Lane.

Ilex aquifolium - Holly 

Juniperus communis - Common juniper

Larix decidua - European larch

Mahonia - Oregon grapes.  Various species and varieties of Mahonia from North America are grown in Churchland gardens.  Their yellow flowers in autumn, winter and spring provide important nectar and pollen for the bumble bees that fly in milder weather in the winter months.

Lotus corniculatus - Common bird's-foot-trefoil.  Common in pastures and often on old lawns.

Lotus pedunculatus. Greater bird's-foot-trefoil.  Common in longer vegetation and damper ground than L. corniculatus.

Myriophyllum aquaticum - Parrot's-feather.  An aquatic plant from South America found in the wild in many ponds where it can suppress native plants.  Pond at Tresco, Churchland Lane (needs checking).

Osmunda regalis - Royal fern

Paeonia officinalis - Garden peony.  Several plants along Churchland Lane opposite Little Oaks gateway.  Widely grown in gardens.

Papaver somniferum - Opium poppy.  One plant occurred on a heap of brick rubble in the garden of Acorn Chalet in the early 21st century.  It did not persist.

Petasites pyrenaicus - Winter heliotrope (formerly Petasites fragrans).  A plant from the Mediterranean area with scented flowers in winter.  Only the male plant is known in Britain but it spreads vegetatively and causes problems on roadside verges and elsewhere as its large, round leaves suppress smaller native plants.  It is difficult to eradicate other than by using weedkillers.  Occurs in various places in Churchland and usually flowers well at the point where Hurst Lane joins the A2244.

Picea abies - Norway spruce

Pinus sylvestris - Scots pine

Pittosporum tenuifolium. Known as kohuhu, black matipo and tawhiwhi in Maori, but there does not appear to be an English name apart from New Zealand pittosporum.  There is a plant in the mixed hedge of Glendale in Churchland Lane. easily distinguished by the undulate margins of the bright green leaves.

Polystichum aculeatum - Hard shield-fern 

Polypodium vulgare - Polypody fern

Polystichum setiferum - Soft shield-fern

Pteridium aquilinum - Bracken

Ranunculus acris - Meadow buttercup.  Widespread in Churchland in open places.

Ranunculus auricomus - Goldilocks buttercup.  Scattered in woodland in Churchland.  This plant is apomictic and has a large number of agamospecies of which around 60 have been described but many more await description.

Ranunculus repens - Creeping buttercup.  Common everywhere often in dam open places.  A persistent weed in gardens.

Ribes nigrum - Black currant.  One plant recorded from Killingan Wood.  Widely grown in gardens

Ribes rubrum - Red currant.  Frequent in woods and widely grown in gardens.

Ribes sanguineum - Flowering currant.  One plant in Churchland Wood.  Widely grown in gardens.

Ribes uva-crispa - Gooseberry.  Recorded as a wild plant in Churchland Wood.  Widely grown in gardens.

Sedum album - White stonecrop.  A frequent escape from gardens on walls and gravelly paths.  Sometimes used on green roofs.

Sempervivum tectorum - Houseleek.  This and its varieties plus some other houseleek species are widely grown in Churchland gardens.

Symphoricarpos albus ssp. laevigatus - Snowberry.  Introduced from western North America.  The plant naturalised in Britain is ssp. laevigatus.  There is a vigorous plant in a garden at TQ78351927 to the west of the footpath.

Symphytum grandiflorum - Creeping comfrey.  Occurs in gardens and sometimes escapes.  Can start to flower in January and is very attractive to bees.

Symphytum x hidcotense - Hidcote comfrey.  Occurs in gardens.

Tellima grandiflora - Fringecups.  From North America.  Has sown itself for many years in the garden at South View in Churchland Lane.

Taxus baccata - Yew.  Widely self-sown into local woodlands and frequently planted both as a free-standing tree and for a hedge, or topiary.  There is an Irish yew, Taxus baccata 'fastigiata' by Churchland Lane on the boundary between South View and Little Oaks.

Viburnum tinus - Laurustinus.  An introduced evergreen shrub from the Mediterranean area that has pink or white flowers in the colder months of the year.  Itr is often ravaged by the viburnum leaf beetle beetle Pyrrhalta viburni. Laurustinus leaves have things called ‘domatia’ in some of the underside axils of some of the leaves.  These domatia consist of clumps of small white hairs and act as shelter for a species of mite called Metaseiulus occidentalis.  Apparently these mites eat the eggs of the red spider mite, Tetranychus urticae, which are very damaging to plants and laurustinus can therefore be of value to gardeners for control of this pest.

Viburnum x bodnantense.  A group of hybrids between Viburnum farreri and V . grandiflorum.  The first to be propagated was raised at Bodnant gardens in North Wales in 1935.  The pink and white flowers appear on bare branches in midwinter and have a strong perfume.  There is an example on the south west corner of The Pantiles' garden by Churchland Lane and also one in the garden of South View..

Vicia sativa ssp. nigra - Narrow-leaved vetch.  Common in hedgerows and rough grassland.

Vicia sativa ssp. segetalis - Common vetch.  Occasional in hedges and rough places.

Vicia sepium - Bush vetch. Common in hedgerows and rough places.