• Christopher Mounsey

July's Plant Highlights

Updated: May 8, 2020

July is upon us and the birdsong is falling away somewhat. But it's a great time for plants. Here are this month's plants to look out for.

Aldrovanda vesiculosa L.

A free floating aquatic plant, found at the outer edge of reed beds, with Nymphaea alba, Myriophyllum spicatum, Utricularia spp., etc. Like Utricularia it is a carnivorous species, trapping small animals in special, bladder-like leaf lobes. Lake Lesser Prespa is the only Greek locality for this species, which is generally rare in Europe, widespread but scattered in subtropical regions.

Butomus umbellatus L.

A robust, erect perennial up to 150 cm tall, growing in reed beds by the lakes. All leaves are basal and linear. The stem is tipped with an umbel of attractive, 6-merous, white or pinkish flowers, and the fruit is a whorl of follicles. This species is widespread in Europe, but not common in Greece where it is scattered on the mainland.

Centaurea graeca Boiss. & Spruner

A Balkan endemic with scattered localities in the C & N parts of the Greek mainland. In Greek Prespa it is found on rocky limestone slopes and road embankments at 860-1000 m, e.g., at Koula where it grows together with Cephalaria ambrosioides. It is a tall perennial with fairly large, ovoid capitula; the phyllaries have an appendix with a variously developed central spine.

Cirsium eriophorum Scop.

A robust, erect biennial 50-120 cm tall with strongly spinose leaves and subglobose capitula 30-45 mm in diameter and densely arachnoid-tomentose. This species is widespread in C & S Europe. In the Prespa area it is found on roadsides, in open scrub and damp meadows at 860-1200 m. Like many large thistles it is unpopular among collectors and the distribution is thus imperfectly known.

Dianthus stenopetalus Griseb.

A Balkan endemic scattered in N & C Greece with an isolated locality on Mt Parnonas (SE Peloponnisos). It is a short-lived perennial forming small tufts, with linear-setaceous leaves and small, dense capitula; the petals are small, linear-spathulate and deep carmine-purple.