Marsh Fern

Today Pete, Chris and I had an expedition to Sleaford, to try and find out whether Marsh Fern was still present at Sleaford Ballast Pits. This is the only site in VC53 for this species, which was last recorded in 1999. After battling through some sallow carr we found an area of fen vegetation with thousands of plants of this attractive fern - just stunning!

We then continued to the open water part of the Ballast Pits, and a few throws of the grapnel yielded huge amounts of three stoneworts - Chara hispida, Chara vulgaris and Chara virgata - two of which are very rare in South Lincolnshire.  

There was more excitement when we surveyed an area of brownfield close to The Maltings. The small lake had well-established Bogbean and the surrounding grassland had a good range of calcicoles as well as a Salvia that I didn't recognise and which initially didn't seem to key out to anything sensible. After a lot of consideration I decided that it was most likely to be a rather depauperate specimen of Whorled Clary which is occasionally established in rough ground in the UK, often near railways. There are a few old records of this species in VC53, but this would be the first since 1997.

All in all quite a day botanically!

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