DUNE WORMWOOD

Artemisia campestris ssp. maritima

Daisy & Dandelion Family [Asteraceae]

month8sep month8sept month8oct month8nov

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8yellow
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ0
 
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8aromatic
aromatic
toxicity
toxicityZhigh
 
rarity
rarityZrare
 

19th Aug, 2017, old sand dunes, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
A fairly short wormwood, about 50cm high, but at the location in Merseyside it is somewhat slanting (with the prevailing wind). First discovered here by Dr. Phil Smith around 2007. It is expected it may show up on other coasts too. It has been in Glamorgan since 1956.


2nd Sept, 2017, old sand dunes, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
A lose but long spike of flowers occupying perhaps the top half of the (un-branched?) stem. The flower are not yet open in August, opening in September.


19th Aug, 2017, old sand dunes, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
The flowering part of the stem is branched with a few flowers per branch, and short but fat and narrow succulent leaves. The yellow flowers trying to break through at the top.


2nd Sept, 2017, old sand dunes, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Three weeks later the flowers are a little more open, but they never fully open; this is about as good as it gets.


19th Aug, 2017, old sand dunes, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
The flowers are surrounded by stubby and thick dark-green sepals/bracts. All green parts are covered in tiny white pores.


2nd Sept, 2017, old sand dunes, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
The bulging bracts are succulent, as is the rather rigid stem. Three open flowers showing both a few disc florets (in the centre) and a few longer and forked cream-coloured stigmas which sprawl outwards. Each flower is only about 2 or 3mm across, making the disc-florets maybe 0.5mm across?


2nd Sept, 2017, old sand dunes, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Five or six disc-florets are visible in this photo, with possibly others hidden by the green bracts or the longer forked stigmas. It is possible that there are 5 stubby green sepals in a pentagonal arrangement around the flower, with additional similar-looking bracts lower down. See the side elevation below.


2nd Sept, 2017, old sand dunes, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Side elevation. The much shorter and narrower 'needles' protruding are possibly the filaments, but, if so, where are their anthers(?).


19th Aug, 2017, old sand dunes, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Parts of the flowers trying to emerge at the top. The sepals/bracts are covered in tiny white pores, as are all green parts.


2nd Sept, 2017, old sand dunes, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
The white pores sit one each in the tiny white elongated pimples. The plant is adapted to saline conditions found on old sand dunes near the sea by the numerous pores through which it can expel un-wanted unwanted salt dissolved in water. The leaves are also fat and succulent to hold enough water to dilute the toxic salt which it would rather not contain.


2nd Sept, 2017, old sand dunes, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Lower down the stem the succulent leaves become branched and longer, but still are very narrow. The stem is red lower down.


Not to be semantically confused with : Sea Wormwood (Artemisia maritimum) [a plant with similar name which also grows near the sea (closer to the sea than does Dune Wormwood)]. Nor to Dune Helleborine Epipactis dunensis, Dune Gentian Gentianella uliginosa or Dune Fescue Vulpia fasciculata.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics; Because it is a succulent it looks totally different to any other Wormwood or Mugwort, such as Sea Wormwood (Artemisia maritima), Chinese Mugwort (Artemisia verlotiorum) or Hoary Mugwort (Artemisia stelleriana) or any other Artemisia species.

Distinguishing Feature :

It has been declared that Dune Wormwood is native to the UK, despite its only recently found status.

It is a sub-species of Field Wormwood (Artemisia campestris ssp. campestris) but some authorities think it deserves to have a separate binomial name in is own right because it is so different from that (Field Wormwood is not a succulent). Prof. Clive Stace suggests it be called by the name it is known as on Continental European: Artemisia crithmifolia.


  Artemisia campestris ssp. maritima  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Asteraceae  

Distribution
 family8Daisy & Dandelion family8Asteraceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Artemisia
Artemisia
(Mugworts)

DUNE WORMWOOD

Artemisia campestris ssp. maritima

Daisy & Dandelion Family [Asteraceae]