Conservation of the Commons includes periodically surveying what wildlife we have. Any plant finds are compared with the species lists in Webb’s History of Chislehurst, which were compiled in the 1880s and 1890s by local naturalists. Anything which is not listed in Webb is considered to be a new record.
This plant can be seen in the stream running into Prickend Pond. It is Pontederia cordata. Its arrowhead-shaped leaves can lead to it being confused with Sagittaria sagittifolia, Arrowhead, but unlike Sagitteria, which has white flowers, Pontederea has violet-blue flowers.
Needless to say: back in Webb’s time there was much more biodiversity on the Commons and all over the area. Over the past 140 years, concrete, tarmac and pollution have taken their toll. Without budging an inch, Chislehurst has moved from a rural setting to an unforgiving urban setting.