SHARP-LEAVED FLUELLEN

Kickxia elatine

Plantain Family [Plantaginaceae]

month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept month8oct

status
statusZarchaeophyte
flower
flower8indigo
inner
inner8yellow
morph
morph8zygo
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZspurred
stem
stem8round
sex
sexZbisexual

11th Aug 2008, Wellow, Bath, Somerset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
A rather sprawling plant but growing up to 50cm long.


11th Aug 2008, Wellow, Bath, Somerset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
The leaves are an unusual shape if a little variable.


11th Aug 2008, Wellow, Bath, Somerset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
The stems are softly-hairy with longish hairs. The flowers and leaves usually occur together on the stem, with leaves attached via a short thick to the stem and flowers on a long thin stalk. The leaf-flower pairs are well separated on the stem. There are several as-yet unopened flower buds just above dead centre. Other flowers more to the right are opened but overexposure in the photograph may have made them appear whiter than they perhaps are(?). Empty sepal cups lower down show absent spent flowers.


11th Aug 2008, Wellow, Bath, Somerset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
Rear views of the opened flowers: they are mostly white with pale-green markings, a flat(ish) seaside spade-like form and with a spur at the rear. The flower at the bottom shows two pale-green pale-green markings on the 'spade'; the 'rear' sepals can be seen around the top of the 'spade'.


11th Aug 2008, Wellow, Bath, Somerset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
The underside view of the seaside spade shape of the rear of the flower: There is a middle lip (top) here curved downwards. The tapered curved spur at the rear is hollow inside but sealed at the pointed end and holds nectar. There are two green sepals either side of the spur. Another longer two can be partially seen behind the 'spade' at the sides. [The fifth sepal is hidden behind the centre of the 'spade'.


unknown date and place Photo: © Bastiaan Brak
A normal view of the flower: the 5 hairy sepals (of various widths) loosely cupping the flower (only 3 can be seen from this angle). The 'spade' is now seen to have two pale-yellow bumps on its top surface (only 1 can be seen from this angle). It is wearing a Donald Trump Duck cap with the deep-purple front flap(s) turned up. At the rear is the hollow spur (straight and long in this example) holding the nectar which insects must endeavour to sip, necessitating rubbing their bodies against everything inside the flower, especially the anthers with their pollen to spread elsewhere.

The corolla is between 7 to 12mm long including the spur, which is about half the total length (it is a bit longer than that in this specimen!).



25th Aug 2011, a farm, IoW Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
A top view of the flower; the deep-purple Donald Trump Duck baseball cap flap is now seen to be in two halves. On the lower cream coloured petal are two egg-shaped lumps which are a deeper yellow. The lowest lip is now seen to be cut in two places to make a 3-lipped lower petal, with the middle lip reflexed beneath the flower. 5 petals in all, plus two 'eggs'. The out-of-focus spur can be seen at the top of the photo.


unknown date and place Photo: © Bastiaan Brak
A full-frontal view of the flower; cream coloured lower lip cut into three, the two yellow 'eggs' near the centre, and the deep-purple Donald Trump Duck baseball cap flap in two halves sticking upwards. Overall, the flower is fairly flat apart from the two 'eggs' and the two 'flaps'.


11th Aug 2008, Wellow, Bath, Somerset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
If you have a Windozey computer, do not worry, this is not the dreaded Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) but rather showing two flowering branches with regular spacing of leaves and flowers.


11th Aug 2008, Wellow, Bath, Somerset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
The flowers and leaves usually occur together on the stem, with leaves attached to it via a short thick to the stem and flowers on a long thin stalk. The leaf-flower pairs are well separated on the stem. Sometimes the leaves occur without any accompanying flower stalk, or with a branch stalk instead.


11th Aug 2008, Wellow, Bath, Somerset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
The leaves are a bit variable: sometimes they have (partly) parallel-sides [top left], but they always curve to a blunt point at the tip. The rear is always some kind of hastate shape - two slightly-wider wings each side, and straight or curved (heart-shaped) at the stem end. The leaf stem is always thicker and much shorter than the flower stalks. Leaves are also hairy, as is most of the plant apart from the flower (which is only hairy inside Donald Ducks mouth).


11th Aug 2008, Wellow, Bath, Somerset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
A flower with a spur and two sepals loosely around it.


11th Aug 2008, Wellow, Bath, Somerset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
Hairy leaves.


11th Aug 2008, Wellow, Bath, Somerset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
Flowers not yet fully opened; still cupped by 5 sepals which will later present the flower in an appropriate position.


Not to be semantically confused with : Sharp-leaved Pondweed (Potamogeton acutifolius), Sharp-flowered Rush (Juncus acutiflorus), Sharp-toothed Mint (Mentha spicata x longifolia), Sharp Club-rush (Schoenoplectus pungens) or Sharp-flowered Signal-grass (Urochloa panicoides) [plants with similar names]

Easily mistaken for : Round-Leaved Fluellen (Kickxia spuria) but that has heart-shaped cardioidal leaves with a blunt triangular taper at the end.

Some similarities to : Malling Toadflax (Chaenorhinum origanifolium) but that has petals which are purple all over apart from the two yellow egg-shaped lumps on its lower lips and is only found in West Malling, Kent.

Slight resemblance to : Toadflaxes (both Linaria and Chaenorhinum species) - (but some of those are yellow).

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Features : see text.

It is an Archaeophyte and grows in arable fields and field edges on light soils, usually on limey soils. There is quite a variation in leaf shape, hairiness and the characteristics of the flowers which might in future be addressed taxonomically by assigning different 'varieties' (var.) to them. These differences might be noticeable in the two or three examples shown above. It is common in England from the North of England to North Wales and Lincolnshire. In Ireland it is found in the South and East. Also occurs in the Channel Islands.


  Kickxia elatine  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Plantaginaceae  

Distribution
 family8Plantain family8Plantaginaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Kickxia
Kickxia
(Fluellens)

SHARP-LEAVED FLUELLEN

Kickxia elatine

Plantain Family [Plantaginaceae]