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Rare parasitic flower alive and well in the Dollar Glen

Toothwort in the Dollar Glen

Ecologists have discovered new colonies of an extremely rare flowering plant in Scotland whilst checking the condition of woodland at Dollar Glen.

The extremely rare parasitic flower Toothwort was thought to have disappeared from the glen, having last been spotted 10 years ago. Completely lacking in chlorophyll, and with leaves reduced to scales, these pale plants survive by living off Elm and Hazel roots.

Lindsay Mackinlay, National Trust for Scotland Nature Conservation Adviser, said: “This is a really exciting find. For years, we have kept an eye out for this species but with no joy, then when we were wandering down one of the paths checking the condition of the woodland, there it was, happily growing feet from one of our footpaths!”

“Part of the work of the National Trust for Scotland is to protect our wild flowers. It’s always great when we find new areas for uncommon and beautiful plants and we make sure our management tries to conserve them into the future.”

Toothwort, Lathraea squamaria, is a rare flower which parasites on the roots of Hazels and Elms. Its leaves are reduced to scales and it has no chlorophyll like most other plants, hence their pale colour. Toothworts are rare in Scotland.

The Dollar Glen has a fine network of paths which wind there way up and down the gorge with a chance to visit impressive Castle Campbell at the top. Check out Walkhighlands for the full route description and map, and keep those eyes peeled for the parasitic Toothwort.

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