Poppies and Marigolds at West Pentire

Jul 6, 2013 by

Poppies and Marigolds at West Pentire

UPDATE 11 July  – the fields have just been featured on BBC Spotlight. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b036p8fz/Spotlight_11_07_2013/ The news item starts at 16 minutes into the programme.

The arable fields at West Pentire, managed by the National Trust, are now looking their best, with four of the fields a spectacular sight. The red Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) is dominant in one field (SW775663 – just south of West Pentire and accessible from the lane to Treago Mill from West Pentire), but also has golden yellow Corn Marigold (Glebionis segetum), Night-flowering Catchfly (Silene noctiflora) along the path through the middle, and around the edges are Bugloss (Anchusa arvensis), Borage (Borago officinalis) as well as Field Woundwort (Stachys arvensis) and Great Brome (Bromus diandrus). The adjacent field to the west is a mix of Common Poppy and Corn Marigold.

 

Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) is dominant in one field (SW775663) just south of West Pentire

Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) is dominant in one field (SW775663) just south of West Pentire.

 

 

Hazel Meredith in field with Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) dominant in one field (SW775663) just south of West Pentire. Photo by I J Bennallick.

Hazel Meredith in field with Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) dominant in one field (SW775663) just south of West Pentire.

 

The third field with a spectacular display – dominated by Corn Marigold – is on the path between West Pentire to Porth (Polly) Joke (SW774606). All three fields have Rough Poppy (Papaver hybridum) scattered throughout. This poppy has a deeper red and smaller flower than Common Poppy and the fruits have curved spines – Common Poppy fruits are smooth.

Corn Marigold (Glebionis segetum) abundant in field above Porth (Polly) Joke (SW774606).

Corn Marigold (Glebionis segetum) abundant in field above Porth (Polly) Joke (SW774606).

The fourth field just to the north, and reached along the path running west from West Pentire (SW773607) is a red and yellow mix of Corn Marigold, Common and Rough Poppy, and in recent years has Small-flowered Catchfly (Silene gallica) alongside the path running north through the middle. This year there are patches of purple Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca) adding to the palette of colours. The smaller of two fields to the north has some Weasel’s-snout (Misopates orontium) on the southern edge and in the southeast corner of the larger field there is some Small-flowered Catchfly. These are not as numerous as in recent years, probably due to the late and cool season early in the year. Venus’s- looking-glass (Legousia hybrida) has also been seen in the smaller of the two fields (at SW77466091) as well as Night-flowering and Small-flowered Catchfly, but it is still a bit early for these species.

Scattered red Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) and golden yellow Corn Marigold (Glebionis segetum) in field at SW77356075.

Scattered red Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) and golden yellow Corn Marigold (Glebionis segetum) in field at SW77356075.

Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca) with red Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) and golden yellow Corn Marigold (Glebionis segetum) in field at SW77416083.

Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca) with red Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) and golden yellow Corn Marigold (Glebionis segetum) in field at SW77416083.

Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca) with red Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) and golden yellow Corn Marigold (Glebionis segetum) in field at SW77416083.

Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca) with red Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) and golden yellow Corn Marigold (Glebionis segetum) in field at SW77416083.

The fields have been monitored for the National Trust over the last few years by local resident Hazel Meredith, who has surveyed every field (there are seven other fields) for the arable flora and has built up valuable information on what management seems to benefit certain species. The importance of these fields for the arable flora has long been recognized, not just for the presence of nationally rare or declining species but of the abundance of commoner arable species – those which are now a rare sight in any cultivated, sprayed or fertilised arable field in most of the British Isles. The dramatic coastal backdrop to these colourful fields draw photographers and on our visit today we saw at least twenty people admiring the fields and taking photos. Take advantage of the upcoming hot and sunny weather this week to visit the site and the coastal cliffs are worth a visit too – as is the lovely unspoilt typically Cornish cove at Polly Joke.

Hazel Meredith searching for Night-flowering Catchfly (Silene noctiflora) in arable field (SW775663) just south of West Pentire

Hazel Meredith searching for Night-flowering Catchfly (Silene noctiflora) in arable field (SW775663) just south of West Pentire

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