Lathraea squamaria L. (Toothwort)

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Picture of Lathraea squamaria (Toothwort)
Lathraea squamaria (Toothwort)

On a bright, sunny but fresh morning we set off along the old railway line north from Copsale, heading for Nutham Wood. After about half a mile, or so, we left the main path and dropped down to the west into Nutham Wood. The focus of the morning was to search for Lathraea squamaria (Toothwort), one of the species the society requires confirmation of for the proposed update to the Rare Plant Register.

There is a stream system within the wood, and the banks have scattered Corylus avellana (Hazel) and extensive populations of Allium ursinum (Ramsons), under which the Lathraea hides. We found our first six plants on the north side of the path, just west of the footbridge over the stream, at TQ1663525308. They were scattered over an area of about tew square metres. These specimens are easy to see and very accessible from the path, where there is little chance of damaging the plants.

Picture of Lathraea squamaria (Toothwort)
Lathraea squamaria (Toothwort)

Careful exploration of the site revealed a further thirty-seven spikes, many of which needed a cautious approach, as the Allium hid many of them. Once we had established that the population seemed to be in pretty good health, we searched no further, so as not to cause any damage ourselves.

If you should decide to go and look at the plants, please do not leave the path, as there is a very high likelihood of trampling the emerging spikes underneath the Allium cover.

Other species recorded:

Ribes rubrum (Red Currant), Primula vulgaris (Primrose), Chrysosplenium oppositifolium (Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage), Glechoma hederacea (Ground Ivy), Anemone nemorosa (Wood Anemone), Hyacinthoides non-scripta (Bluebell), Crataegus laevigata (Midland Hawthorn), Corylus avellana (Hazel), Allium ursinum (Ramsons), Viola reichenbachiana (Early Dog Violet), Viola riviniana (Common Dog Violet), Oxalis acetosella (Wood Sorrel), Euphorbia amygdaloides (Wood Spurge)Polystichum setiferum (Soft Shield-fern), Alnus glutinosa (Alder), Ficaria verna subsp. fertilis (Lesser Celandine), Cardamine pratense (Cuckoo Flower / Ladies Smock).

Along the path from Copsale northwards, on the west side, there we two good examples of Primula × polyantha (P. vulgaris × P. veris) [Primrose × Cowslip]

Paul Harmes & Nevil Hutchinson