The Green Man roundabout and underpass

The Green Man roundabout is a major road interchange between local routes in the Leytonstone/Wanstead area and the A12 trunk road. It is named after a pub that still stands on the corner of Leytonstone High Road, although the pub no longer retains the name.

In relation to other wildlife areas covered by Wanstead Wildlife, it lies between Bush Wood, which is to the south and east, and Leyton Flats to the north-west. When the roundabout was created in its present form to access the new A12 link road between Blackwall Tunnel and the Redbridge roundabout, care was taken to provide easy access for pedestrians, cyclists and horse-riders between those parts of Epping Forest to which the road system would otherwise have proved to be a major obstacle. As such, a high and wide series of underpasses and pedestrian, cycle and horse paths were provided, together with landscaping either side of the roundabout and within the central section.

The landscaping was carried out appropriately for what effectively is part of Epping Forest and was seeded in 1999. A meadow-like environment was created which really is a flowery and attractive place for people and creatures alike.

The list of plants below was mostly collected subsequent to a survey undertaken by myself and Kathy Hartnett on 13th June 2012. Some of the plants were actually found on part of Bush Wood North, insofar as the recording areas in "Wanstead Wildlife" is concerned, but very close to the roundabout and its approach paths. On an area of disturbed ground very close to the pavement of particular interest was a small, low plant with tiny pink-ish flowers hardly opened, and fleshy, succulent leaves. After a bit of investigation I interpreted it as Greater Sea-spurrey Spergularia media, probably making use of the salt that is used on icy roads to emulate its more usual sea-side habitat this far inland.

So as to distinguish between Bush Wood North and the underpass system of the roundabout, it was decided to use the surfaced cycle and pedestrian path that crosses from near the pedestrian crossing on Bush Road and continues towards Wanstead parallel to the link road which the roundabout serves, as the boundary. Similarly, at the northern end of the underpass system, the surfaced track there serves to readily distinguish between the underpass system and Leyton Flats. Between these, the system can be conveniently divided into three sections: the Green Man section adjacent to Bush Wood (North), the Central Section which is that section which forms the centre of the roundabout (although at a lower level than the roads) and the Leyton Flats area, which of course is adjacent to Leyton Flats. In the list that follows, the plants that have been found in each section are mentioned.

The higher-level road-system part of the roundabout does have grass-and vegetation edges, but is busy and not conducive to pedestrian investigation. However, a readily observable planting of Chusan Palm trees Trachycarpus fortunei may be seen - part of a pre-Olympic tidy-up. Weird and totally out of place here, although they are the only species of palm that is hardy throughout the British Isles. I wonder how long they will last?

On a return visit on 15th June 2012 perhaps the nicest new find were two stems of Bee Orchid, growing right near to the Green Man roundabout underpass on the Bush Wood section. On the approach path to the central part of the underpass system - near theTesco's approach road and right by the brickwork of the underpass - were a few plants of Woad Isatis tinctoria, not before recorded in this area. In the section of the underpass nearest Leyton Flats, two flowers of Corncockle were found. Much later, in 2024, those Bee Orchids just mentioned could not be found, but within the central section many were in flower in early June. As well, a few flowers of Pyramidal Orchid were present. At the same time, there were numbers of Common Broomrape Orobanche minor.


Scientific Name
Common Name
088 Ranunculus acris Meadow Buttercup *    
102 Papaver somniferum Opium Poppy *    
103 Papaver rhoeas Common Poppy *    
111 Platanus x hybrida
London Plane *    
117 Urtica dioica Stinging Nettle     *
124 Betula pendula Silver Birch   *  
159 Arenaria sepyllifolia Thyme-leaved Sandwort   *  
162 Stellaria media Common Chickweed *    
173 Spergularia media Greater Sea-spurrey *    
173 Lychnis coronaria Rose Campion   *  
174 Agrostemma githago Corncockle     *
176 Silene latifolia White Campion     *
177 Silene dioica Red Campion *    
194 Rumex crispus
Curled Dock *    
207 Hypericum perforatum Perforate St. John's Wort   *  
212 Malva moschata Musk Mallow   *  
212 Malva sylvestris Common Mallow * * *
226 Populus alba White Poplar   *  
250 Sisymbrium officinale Hedge Mustard *    
252 Isatis tinctoria Woad   * near Tesco's approach  
258 Armoracia rusticana Horse Radish   *  
274 Diplotaxis muralis Annual Wall Rocket   *  
275 Brassica sp. Brassica *    
281 Reseda luteola Weld *    
335 Rubus fruticosus agg. Bramble   * *
344 Potentilla reptans Creeping Cinquefoil *   *
361 Rosa canina Dog Rose * *  
406 Lotus corniculatus Birdsfoot-trefoil * *  
411 Vicia cracca Tufted Vetch * * *
412 Vicia sativa Common Vetch   * *
415 Lathyrus latifolius Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea     *
417 Melilotus sp. Tall Melilot * *  
417 Melilotus albus White Melilot *    
420 Medicago lupulina Black Medick * *  
421 Medicago sativa Lucerne      
423 Medicago arabica Spotted Medick *    
425 Trifolium repens White Clover * * *
427 Trifolium campestre Hop Trefoil * * 04/06/2024  
427 Trifolium pratense Red Clover *    
436 Ulex europaeus Gorse *   *
461 Euphorbia peplus Petty Spurge *    
462 Euphorbia cyparissias Cypress Spurge   *  
472 Choisya ternata Mexican Orange      
480 Geranium dissectum Cut-leaved Cranesbill * * *
482 Geranium pyrenaicum
Hedgerow Cranesbill *    
482 Geranium molle Dove's-foot Cranesbill   *  
482 Geranium robertianum Herb Robert *   *
490 Hedera helix Ivy *   *
501 Anthriscus sylvestris Cow Parsley     *
507 Conium maculatum Hemlock * * *
518 Daucus carota Wild Carrot *   *
531 Solanum dulcamara Bittersweet     *
534 Convolvulus arvensis Field Bindweed      
545 Symphytum x uplandicum
Russian Comfrey     *
548 Pentaglottis sempervirens Green Alkanet *    
559 Ballota nigra Black Horehound      
583 Coronopus didymus
Lesser Swinecress *    
583 Plantago major Great Plantain     *
583 Plantago coronopus Buck's-horn Plantain *    
584 Plantago media Hoary Plantain   *  
584 Plantago lanceolata Ribwort Plantain * * *
596 Antirrhinum majus Snapdragon      
604 Veronica arvensis Wall Speedwell *    
605 Veronica persica Common Field Speedwell *    
630 Orobanche minor Common Broomrape   * Several growing on a raised bank on 4th June 2024  
647 Galium verum Lady's Bedstraw   * *
660 Dipsacus sp. Teasel      
662 Knautia arvensis Field Scabious   *  
673 Arctium sp. Burdock     *
676 Cirsium vulgare Spear Thistle * *  
678 Cirsium arvense Creeping Thistle *   *
681 Centaurea scabiosa Greater Knapweed   * *
683 Centaurea nigra Black Knapweed * *  
684 Cichorium intybus Chicory   *  
684 Lapsana communis Nipplewort * * *
688 Picris echioides Bristly Ox-tongue *    
688 Tragopogon pratensis Goat's-beard *    
689 Sonchus arvensis Perennial Sow-thistle *    
690 Sonchus oleraceus Smooth Sow-thistle *    
690 Lactuca serriola Prickly Lettuce     *
698 Taraxacum. sect. Ruderalis Dandelion   *  
728 Tanacetum parthenium Feverfew      
729 Artemisia vulgaris Mugwort * * *
732 Achillea millefolium Yarrow * * *
735 Leucanthemum vulgare (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum) Oxeye Daisy * * *
736 Tripleurospermum maritimum Scentless Mayweed *    
736 Matricaria recutita Scented Mayweed *    
740 Senecio jacobaea Common Ragwort   * *
740 Senecio squalidus Oxford Ragwort   * *
747 Calendula officinalis
Garden Marigold *    
776 Trachycarpus fortunei Chusan Palm     * planted by road-side
852 Lolium perenne Perennial Rye-grass *    
854 Cynosurus cristatus Crested Dog's-tail *    
858 Poa annua Annual Meadow Grass *    
859 Dactylis glomerata Cock's-foot * *  
868 Holcus lanatus Yorkshire Fog *   *
888 Anisantha sterilis Barren Brome      
895 Hordeum muralis
Wall Barley * * *
971 Anacamptis pyramidalis Pyramidal Orchid   * A few flowering on 4th June 2024  
982 Ophrys apifera Bee Orchid * * Lots on 4th June 2024