Bradford Botany Group

Ivy-leaved Toadflax in Bradford


Ivy-leaved Toadflax, Cymbalaria muralis is very common in urban Bradford. Originating as a garden plant it has spread widely, self-seeding on walls, pavements and waste ground where it seems to prefer rubble. Much less common (and in Britain as a whole) is Italian Toadflax, Cymbalaria pallida which seems to grow in identical habitats. Ivy-leaved Toadflax has smaller flowers with a shorter more pointed spur than Italian Toadflax and is more creeping with long-spreading, leafy stems and it is usually hairless. There is a rare form of Ivy-leaved Toadflax, C. muralis ssp. visianii which is hairy but it retains the small flowers and long-spreading stems of typical Ivy-leaved Toadflax; it used to occur at Woodside Quarry, Leeds, VC64, but this site has since been lost to development. Italian Toadflax has larger flowers with a longer more tubular spur and is more compact with only short stems and the leaves and flower stalks are covered in numerous short patent hairs; (hairs in this group of plants are (spetate) jointed).

Cymbalaria muralis

Last year Michael Wilcox and I found some self-seeded Cymbalaria plants on a garden wall on Old Windhill Road, Thackley, VC63. These looked like C. pallida with the large flowers and long tubular spur (and without the long creeping stems of C. muralis ) but were virtually hairless. We sent specimens to Eric Clement (an unofficial BSBI referee) who named them: - ‘Cybalaria pallida var. beguinotii (Cuf) Cuf , [seemingly] new to Britain in the wild – and probably a good species’.

Cymbalaria pallida

Michael Wilcox has also found some unusual Cymbalarias in Clitheroe and Read in Lancashire, which require more study: - One is a Cymbalaria muralis type with long curved spurs and one a C. pallida type also with long-curved spurs. If any one notices any non-typical Cymbalarias in Bradford please let me know, they may be new species/subspecies to Britain.

Cybalaria pallida var. beguinotii

This article is reproduced from the groups newsletter of 2010 courtesy of Jesse Tregale

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