09 July 2014

Unusual flowers

Last Saturday I went on an outing with the Scottish Orchid Society. I have already covered most of the species which we saw, but we went to one interesting location, which was already known to me, where there are a large numbers of Lesser Twayblades (Neottia cordata) growing on sphagnum in woodland. At the same site Chickweed Wintergreen (Trientalis europaea) and Common Wintergreen (Pyrola minor) are also present. These last two are unrelated despite their names. Chickweed Wintergreen is mostly found in eastern Scotland and is not at all common in the west.

White form of Common Spotted Orchid

Chickweed Wintergreen

Common Wintergreen

Lesser Twayblade

08 July 2014

Flowers close to home

For the past month, having trapped a nerve in my arm and being unable to drive, my botanical activities have been restricted to close to home. It's amazing what you can find locally if you set your mind to it. Only a few hundred yards from our house I found two plants which I had never seen before, growing in a grass verge. Both are members of the pea family (Fabaceae), and both are species which thrive on mown grass because they are very short in growth and can survive being mown but cannot stand the competition of taller vegetation.

Birdsfoot (Ornithopus perpusillus) is a widespread but local annual which is scattered throughout Great Britain, though in Scotland it is mostly restricted to the central belt, the south-west and around Inverness. It get its name from the shape of its seed pods.

Slender Trefoil (Trifolium micranthum) is common in south east England, but has hitherto been regarded as absent from Western Scotland north of the Clyde and Scottish records are regarded as alien. This is the first record for the species in Dunbartonshire. In the top picture the plant on the left is Lesser Trefoil (Trifolium dubium) which is abundant throughout Great Britain.