31 May 2011

Two of Gower's eyebrights

Euphrasia cf. arctica subsp. borealis
Eyebrights are notoriously difficult to identify to species; not only are most species similar in appearance, often with different subspecies, but they also hybridise freely. So it was nice to be shown a new species, provisionally identified by Julian Woodman  from CCW as Euphrasia arctica subsp. borealis. We also noted one of the larger eyebrights, E. rostkoviana subsp. rostkoviana, which is locally abundant in some of north Gower's fields. These are two of eight species recorded in West Glamorgan.
E. rostkoviana subsp. rostkoviana is one of the larger-
flowered species, shown here growing with Yellow Rattle 
If you're unsure about an eyebright's identification (as I often am!) it's best to record it simply as Euphrasia officinalis agg.


Charles Hipkin said...

Euphrasia roskoviana has been renamed E. officinalis ssp pratensis (3rd edition of Stace), just to confuse matters. Opinion also seems to be that E. arctica may be more common than E. nemorosa in western Britain, so we should all look more closely for that one. But in the short limestone turf of the cliffs, E. tetraquetra is probably the most common Eyebright.Along the upland forestry roads in the Neath and Afan Valleys E. micrantha is often conspicuous - it has small, lilac-coloured flowers - look for it in late summer.

Barry Stewart said...

Thanks for that Charles. On Monday I saw a fantastic display of E. officinalis ssp. pratensis in the fields below Leason. Quite a few Southern Marsh-orchids there too and a single spike of Common Spotted-orchid, this being quite a scarce plant on the Gower Peninsula.