On 3rd October I posted a picture of the largest stinking hawksbeard in Northiam, predicting that the most vigorous plants at this time of year do not always survive. Well just over a month later this is how the plant looked
What remained of the leaves were often very reddened and there was massive grazing damage to the leaves. Intrigued to see if this plant was also infested with subterranean aphids I carefully excavated it. All that was found was a slug, Deroceras caruanae attached just below the crown. At this point there was a massive cavity going right through the top of the tap root, right under the centre of the rosette.
The lowest 5cm of the tap root was riddled with holes and falling apart.
Are there any budding plant pathologists who could tell me if anything other than molluscs could have caused this damage. There were no signs of leatherjackets in the gravel.