Narrow-leaved Vetch on Raasay

Whilst walking to the ferry the other day I noticed a well-developed plant of Vicia sativa subsp. nigra (Narrow-leaved Vetch).

Vicia sativa subsp. nigra

Vicia sativa subsp. nigra

To be clear that it is this subspecies one needs to check that the flowers are concolorous i.e. the standard is the same colour as the wings, and, whilst not obvious from the image, that the lower leaves are very different from the upper leaves (“heterophyllous”).

This plant is Locally Scarce in Vice-county 104 and this is the third record for Raasay. It is close to a 1930s record but seems likely to have been introduced with soil during ferry terminal construction. Alternatively it might have come from long-dormant seed disturbed during these operations.


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