A sleeping giant

Loch Lomond NNR

A major component of our NNRs, and Loch Lomond in particular, is the vast array of rare or otherwise prioritised plant species we have present. Part of our Loch Lomond reserve includes the wetland surrounding Gartfairn wood, which is home to an exceptionally rare plant – the Scottish dock (Rumex aquaticus). You have probably heard or seen our most common species, the broadleaf dock (Rumex obtusifolius) many times before. It is the plant we’re often told to rub on nettle stings to stop the pain! Often considered a weed by gardeners, broadleaf dock can be found across the whole of the UK in abundancy. Well, Scottish dock is our very own giant version – it can grow up to 2 metres tall! It was discovered in 1936, and it appears to be confined specifically to the shores of Loch Lomond – not to be found anywhere else in Scotland, or, indeed, the world!

Steve is holding the wintery remnants of a broadleaf dock, you can tell by it’s spiky seed pods.
Below is the Scottish dock, with much smoother edges.

Right now, Scottish dock is in its winter appearance – brown and shrivelled, and you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s dead and walking right on past! However, it is actually a perennial plant – it lives longer than 2 years and returns to flower every year. Having never yet seen Scottish dock in its full summer glory, this is just one of many species we’re particularly excited to return to in the spring and summer, to see what it looks like, and just how much it dwarfs us!

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2 Responses to A sleeping giant

  1. Anne says:

    Hopefully you will then be able to post photographs of the plant in its full glory alongside its winter version.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: On the hunt for tiny wetland plants | 2 bogs, a swamp and some islands

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