Worcestershire Record No. 25 November 2008 p. 30
Isolepis (Eleogiton) fluitans, floating club-rush is not regarded as an uncommon plant nationally. The Vascular Plant Red Data List for Great Britain gives it as locally common (Cheffings & Farrell 2005) but due to agricultural improvement has seriously declined in the lowlands. It is now very rare in the Midlands and found at only two sites in Worcestershire.
Keith Barnett reported in the Worcestershire Record (Number 13, November 2002, page 9) the re-discovery by Will Watson in 2002 at Castlemorton Common. This was assumed to be the site that Lees reported the species in the 19th century. The only other know site is in the bog at Hartlebury Common. However its present status there is uncertain.
I had recorded the plant In Wyre Forest since 1979 from the Shropshire portion with a good colony in a pool at Lawley’s Coppice. In 1995 I found another smaller colony in a stream within the Roxel Rocket Motors site. Both were reported in Rare Plants of Shropshire. (Locton & Whild 2005). The plant has also suffered serious declines in Shropshire with six recent sites. However one population on Brown Clee Hill is quite substantial.
No records were known for the plant from Worcestershire side of Wyre although Gaut makes reference to the plant for Wyre Forest in 1926 as floating or submerged plants in the streams.
On the 21st June 2008 on a rather wet Wyre Forest Study Group recording day in Wyre I discovered a new Worcestershire colony. It was growing around the muddy margins of a small pool in woodland, just south of Lodgehill Farm meadows. The site had been completely shaded by rhododendron for many years until 2005 when English Nature (now Natural England) opened this area and removed the offending rhododendron.
The pool still remains quite sterile but marginal plants are now starting to reappear. Where the Isolepis came from, either introduced by natural means or from long dormant seed is debatable. It’s a welcome new site for Worcestershire and hopefully will be protected within the National Nature Reserve.
|Cheffings, C. and Farrell, L. (Editors), 2005, The Vascular Plant Red Data List for Great Britain, JNCC|
|Lockton A J and Whild S J 2005 Rare Plants of Shropshire: A Red Data Book of Vascular Plants, 3rd edition. Shropshire Botanical Society|
|Gaut R C. 1926 Wyre Forest General Soil and Botanical Features. Trans Worc
Nat Club Vol VIII. p.173-196|
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