I was up on Seaford Head in August again for the Moon Carrot survey. There were about ten of us and the numbers of Seseli libanotis were good. I haven’t included photos of them here because I did that last year! In 2022 we had a very dry late summer and the Moon carrots were a lot smaller than the previous year and harder to spot, but they were still there doing their thing. The photo above shows some of the survey team on site near Hope Gap, and some of the canes used to mark out the counting zones.
August cliff-top flora
Moon Carrot – Seseli libanotis
I’ve put this first as it was the reason I was there after all! The tiny white dots you can see in the pic are the Moon Carrots, looking down from near the top of the cliff (obviously health and safety meant I didn’t get that close to the edge:)).
Wild Carrot – Daucas carota and Hogweed – Heracleum sphondylium
The Moon Carrot grows in only a well defined area of the cliff edge, but could easily be confused with other white umbels such as Wild Carrot Daucas carota and Hogweed Heracleum sphondylium. Both of these grow near the cliffs a little to the East of our survey. The pic below shows Wild Carrot at the bottom (white flowers in the pic, less of a cauliflower form to the flowers than Moon Carrot), and Hogweed above (brown seed heads in the pic as it flowers earlier, has different leaves and is much bigger).
Tree Mallow – Lavatera arborea
Common Restharrow – Ononis repens
Carline Thistle – Carlina vulgaris
This Thistle is another chalk grassland indicator species.
I had to double-check that these below were actually Carline Thistle as I hardly ever see them with fluffy seed heads like this.
Agrimony – Agrimonia eupatoria
August was dry and the yellow flowers had long since finished.
Yellow Horned Poppy – Glaucium flavium
A few of these poppies were growing close to the cliffs – the places I usually see them are on the beach or in shingle.
You can see from the pic below how dry the ground was.
Teasel – Dipsacus fullonum
The dry weather made for some beautiful still life arrangements though.
Vipers Bugloss – Echium vulgare
I just love the muted colours here!
I visit Seaford Head a few times a year – it’s about an hour’s walk from my house and there’s always something to see, be it Hairy Violets, Orchids or migrating birds.