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Glabrous Whitlowgrass

For 2022 I have a few 'wants' on my plant list that I have never seen before or have never seen in North Wales. I try and make these lists to remind me to a) go and see them, b) when to go and see them and c) where to go and see them.

The first plant of the year that is on the list is Glabrous Whitlowgrass (Erophila glabrescens), a species which is probably overlooked, but it is a Flintshire rare plant. So after checking the literature a visit was made to the town of Mold, where this species had been recorded in various areas around the town.

Glabrous Whitlowgrass, Mold, Flintshire, Rare Plant
Glabrous Whitlowgrass - Mold - March 2022

The problem is that there is three species of Whitlowgrass, Common, Hairy and Glabrous and they can appear very similar. Common Whitlowgrass (Erophila verna) as its name suggest is common, indeed all around Mold town there is a lot of this plant, they key is looking for the subtle differences.

Glabrous (meaning smooth or free from hair) has leaves which have little to no hairs on the surface and the 'notch' in the petals only comes half way down, in Common Whitlowgrass it comes much deeper and the leaves have hairs.

After a short search there were some Whitlowgrass in the pavement that looked different, the leaves looked shinier and were certainly lacking the hairs of the common. The flowers were different too, not as divided, when compared with some Common Whitlowgrass I was certain these were Glabrous.

Cue the usual laying down with the camera in public taking pics whilst people wonder what on earth you are doing, but who cares, people just walk by/on these plants without even knowing they are there, I often wonder how people can honestly not see these things.

So one down, many more plants in 2022 to go, here is hoping they perform just as well.


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