Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Atriplex praecox (Early Orache) a new native species for Co. Wexford and 2nd site for Ireland

 This time of year I spend a lot of time looking at Atriplex as I find them a very interesting species. Most people think they are very boring! Two weeks ago I found Atriplex praecox (Early Orache) as a new native species for Ireland from the very SW corner of Ireland on the shore of Valentia Island, Kerry. Known from a scattering of sites from Scotland and the very north of England. Yesterday I went and had a look at the SW corner of Lady's Island Lake at Rostonstown and there it was again, Atriplex praecox. If you like showy plants, this isn't for you. Has to be one of the dullest rare species out there, most plants are rarely more than 6 cm across, and lay flat on the ground. Generally a reddish-purple in colour, but can be a greenish-purple. Atriplex praecox is said to like sheltered sea lochs in Scotland, certainly plenty of these in the north of Ireland. There must be other sites out there waiting to be found!
 The lower leaves are trullate, in other words trowel-shaped. The bracteoles are only joined at the very base. In both the Wexford and Kerry sites Atriplex praecox grows just above the hide tide mark. The very bottom picture shows the habitat at Lady's Island Lake.


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