Some 20 years ago, British Wildlife published a summary of Tony Hare's doctoral research on Pulicaria vulgaris, the Lesser or Small Fleabane (Hare 1990). Tony celebrated the plant as 'not the most ostentatious of British rarities' and described its strongholds in the commons and village greens of the New Forest.
In 2004, a population of the Tadpole Shrimp Triops cancriformis (Bosc.) (Crustacea, Branchiopoda, Notostraca) was discovered in a small, temporary (ephemeral) pool at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) reserve at Caerlaverock, on the Solway Firth, in Dumfries & Galloway, on land jointly managed with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) on the Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve.
As August fades into September, the days shorten and the botanical season draws towards its close. At this back end of summer, I make my annual visit along Hampshire's Avon valley to Breamore Marsh. Here, I wade the ponds and hollows of the Marsh and pay my respects to one of Britain's rarest plants, the
Although muddy places are still quite common and widespread in the country-side and a significant portion of our native flora is associated with periodically wet habitats, a surprisingly high number of these species are rare and are listed in Red Data Book (Perring & Farrell 1983) and Scarce Plant (Stewart et al. 1994) accoutns.
Scattered among the magnificent woodlands and sweeping heaths and bogs of the New Forest are patches of a less well-known habitat: the wild lawn. Short-swarded grasslands, cropped and trampled by the semi-wild New Forest ponies, the lawns look at first glance rather like the semi-detached suburban lawns of any city. But these lawns support more
Dry summers such as that of 1989 and 1990 reduce many of the countryside's ponds to crisp bare mud, undoubtedly a regrettable occurance. The drying up of a 'permanent' pond kills a proportion of its animal life, but, when a pond refills, wildlife is often quick to reappear. Droughts must have occurred throughout history, and