Southbya nigrella

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Identification notes

Southbya nigrella is Critically Endangered in England, although it is widespread in the Mediterranean, and some of the images below are taken from material found in Corfu. It is a small and similar plant to Southbya tophacea, which is almost as rare, and is a thermophilic species of sunny but seasonally moist thin calcareous soils and soft rock. The leaves are opposite and very darkly pigmented, especially on the antical border. When dry the leaves fold up and the whole plant appears black and is extremely difficult to locate.

It appears to be even more fragile and brittle than Southbya tophacea, and preparing material for microscopy is a challenge. The leaves are generally wider than long, and usually have a curious flap-like appendage that grows from the surface. Further confirmation comes from the stem, which is usually at least twice as wide as high, and the bracts which are free of teeth on the postical surface.

Read the Field Guide account

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

Known only from Portland Bill and a small population on the Isle of Wight.

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014

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