Toothwort at Lower Kilcott

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Photographed this afternoon in a sunken lane along a stretch of the Cotswold Way at Lower Kilcott, northeast of Chipping Sodbury.

Toothwort (Lathraea squamaria) is a root-parasite of various trees and shrubs; often Hazel, but also Beech and Alder. It’s a native species in Britain, found throughout England (except for Cornwall and Norfolk), and also in eastern Wales and southern Scotland. There are many populations in woodlands throughout the Cotswolds (last weekend, we saw lots in the woods along the entrance road to Chedworth Roman Villa). Closer to home, it’s present in the Golden Valley at Wick, and in the Leigh Woods/Avon Gorge area, among other places.

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At Lower Kilcott, we counted 85 flowering stems in four separate colonies. The largest of these contained 59 flowering stems, and a portion of this is shown in the photo above. The green arrow on the Google map below shows its location.

There are six other species of toothwort worldwide, and one of these, Purple Toothwort (L. clandestina) is naturalised in scattered localities throughout Britain, including a few places locally.

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2 thoughts on “Toothwort at Lower Kilcott

  1. Sid

    Thanks for this (and the blog). It’s really timely. I was out at Golden Valley a couple of weeks ago and saw these strange shoots at the base of a tree and didn’t know what they were. Now I do 🙂

    Reply

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