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Problems with Cultivation and Identification: this plant has frustrated me for years...

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Started by: Jonathan Trustram

can anybody identify it?

Go to latest contribution by Jonathan Trustram, 12 May 2018, 22:25. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Jonathan Trustram 05 March 2018, 13:29top / bottom of page

Near the Gemmi pass in Switzerland, at the end of June, at about 2300 metres, about 25 cms high, can someone identify it?

Contribution from Diane Clement 05 March 2018, 15:38top / bottom of page

I wonder if it could be Narthecium ossifragum (Bog Asphodel), a common plant in Western Europe on damp ground

Contribution from Peter Hood 05 March 2018, 20:55top / bottom of page

I don't think it is Narthecium; the leaves appear to be hairy, and, although the picture is not very clear, the flowers appear to have four petals, not 6 tepals. I think we may be Brassicaceae, perhaps Erysimum.

Contribution from Diane Clement 05 March 2018, 21:39top / bottom of page

My first glimpse was of 6 petals, but now I've zoomed in a bit closer and I'm not sure if it has 4, 5 or 6 petals??  You could be correct, Peter, what about Erysimum virgatum which I have seen in the Valais.  Do you have a close up picture of the flower, Jonathan? 

Contribution from Jonathan Trustram 06 March 2018, 10:33top / bottom of page

it's definitely a crucifer - alas my photo doesn't show the basal leaves. It was the only plant of its kind I saw during the whole dy. I'm wondering now if it could be a biscutella? Which I'm used to seeing at much lower altitudes and when the flowering is much more advanced. I had a look at the Swiss Web Flora site, which is very useful but hard to use because you have to click on the area you want to examine from a very poor map of Switzerland. But it lists every plant for each of hundreds of small areas, all either mountain or lowland, and in that area, the Wildstrubel, there are apparently no erysimums!  

Contribution from Diane Clement 06 March 2018, 11:06top / bottom of page

I think Erysimum virgatum may be a rare plant in the area, see the map below, taken from Swiss WebFlora site


Contribution from Jonathan Trustram 09 March 2018, 15:10top / bottom of page

well yes, maybe that's it! thankyou very much!

Contribution from John Richards 12 May 2018, 16:27top / bottom of page
Biscutella laevigata

I think you are right Jonathan, Biscutella laevigata, a very common and widespread alpine of moderate altitudes usually on lime. It is distinctive when in fruit, less so at this stage.

John Richards

Contribution from Jonathan Trustram 12 May 2018, 22:25top / bottom of page

ah yes, I'm more used to seeing it at the same time of year but at much lower altitudes when it's much further in flower. Are you the John richards?! I've been enjoying your book on Greece, thankyou

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