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Kent Diary Discussion: 31 July 2014

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Thames Barges & Hog's Fennel

Go to latest contribution by Tim Ingram, 02 August 2014, 22:03. Go to bottom of this page.

Contribution from John Richards 02 August 2014, 09:29top / bottom of page
Hogs fennel

Coincidence is a curious thing. Visiting my London-based brother last week, he mentioned a day-trip to Whitstable, where he found an illustrated sign all about the 'Hog's Fennel', that rare plant, which grew all about the marsh embankments there and which he subsequently found and photographed. Had I ever heard of it? No I hadn't, so I looked it up and found, as so often for English names, that it was not a fennel, and neither presumably was it a hog, but Peucedanum officinale, a very localised relative of milk parsley, the fenland food of the swallowtail, and the masterwort which we occasionally find around Dales farmhouses. A small but curiously disparate genus of umbellifers.

Contribution from Tim Ingram 02 August 2014, 22:03top / bottom of page

John, I'm just reading Peter Marren's book and have seen his reference to Milk Parsley and the Swallowtail at Wicken Fen, and the relative complexity of the population dynamics of this plant (and hence how one might go about conserving the Swallowtail as well as the Milk-Parsley). It's a great education and the whole book shows how conservation is never so straightforward as it might appear and sometimes (perhaps more often than not) probably best left to Nature itself! It is a very thought provoking book, and for someone like me who has not been brought up on the native flora (and comes at plants from a different direction), I am learning a tremendous amount. I can see something of the excitement of the field trips you describe.

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