Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Knapweed Broomrape

Last Sunday I nipped over to Narborough Bog, and noticed a couple of spikes of what looked to be a broomrape growing right in the middle of a clump of Common Knapweed. I assumed it was Knapweed Broomrape, and knowing that this was quite rare in VC55 (I only know of it from a couple of sites in Rutland) I let Nathalie at the Leics. & Rutland Wildlife Trust know in case it was of interest ....

Then it got decidely interesting. First of all, the ID was quite rightly questioned as Knapweed Broomrape in the UK is almost exclusively found living off of Greater Knapweed. Had Nathalie of fully realised how inept my botany skills are it would probably have ended there. Luckily, Nathalie followed up, found the spikes and was unsure of the ID but sent a sample to an expert at the NHM. Today it was confirmed ....

It is indeed Knapweed Broomrape, yes it is rare but not unknown for it to be on Common Knapweed, and best of all - it is a first for Leicestershire. Narborough Bog is one of the best known botanical sites in VC55 so even more pleasing.

When I found it I was without camera, and haven't had a chance to go back yet but will do over the weekend.

6 comments:

Mark Rossell said...

Hi Mark

Did you know about the 25 Broomrape plants on the minor road between Empingham and Ketton

Skev said...

Hello Mark,

No I wasn't - are these Knapweed Broomrape aswell? I've seen Knapweed Broomrape at Ketton Quarry and I know Dave has seen it somewhere else in Rutland. It must be at other sites in Leics. - I guess most people wouldn't recognise it at all.

Earl Gray or Dave for short! said...

Hi Mark and Mark, I know a few sites in Rutland, but these plants at Narbie Bog are the first for Leicestershire, so great find Skev!

John Hague said...

Another rare plant that's as ugly as fuck... can't you find anything nice?

PS the word verification was fooke... getting closer to a real swear word.

Jim Dunkley said...

Looked at Ketton for Scarlet tiger today following your post re caterpillars. No luck - was not sure exactly where to look. Help would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Skev said...

Hello Jim,

Although I've seen the larvae a few times, I've never been lucky enough to see the adults on the wing. The Comfrey and larvae are actually just off of the reserve around the farm buildings, but I see no reason why the adults would not be prospecting around the adjacent parts of the reserve. I guess it's just a matter of timing and decent sunshine (some chance!).