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MOLINIA

CAERULEA SUBSP. ALTISS1MA (LINK) DOMIN A PURPLE MOOR-GRASS P . J. O . TRIST

In Trist (1986) I described this taxon as subsp. arundinacea (Schrank) H . Paul, the n a m e used in Flora E u r o p a e a 5. Since that time, P e t e r Seil of the C a m b r i d g e University h e r b a r i u m has researched the correct n o m e n c l a t u r e and this was published in Seil & Trist (1988) as subsp. altissima (Link) Domin. Following this p a p e r , a few new records have been r e p o r t e d f r o m Cardiganshire v.c. 46, S. D e v o n s h i r e v.c. 3, S. N o r t h u m b e r l a n d v.c. 67 and the Shetland Islands v.c. 112; but this little a d d e d i n f o r m a t i o n still leaves me to consider there r e m a i n s a lack of interest in our infraspecific taxa. H o w e v e r , it is recognised t h e r e has b e e n considerable loss in lowland wet habitats. Since 1986, I have f o u n d two m o r e sites of subsp. altissima in Suffolk v.c. 26: on the N N R on C a v e n h a m H e a t h and on P o o r s F e n , L a k e n h e a t h . In both cases t h e spring fed sand and sand over peat has b e e n conserved. My re-introduction of a n o t e on this subsp. altissima relates to my current notes on M. caerulea var. viridiflora. Both of these taxa are f o u n d in similar w a t e r levels and in partial s h a d e ; but with a subtle difference. Subsp. altissima is seen in t h e o p e n fen and in local s h a d e of a d j a c e n t species of Juncus and Phragmites, while var. viridiflora m a y be on t h e margin of carr or u n d e r a high c a n o p y of carr s h a d e . Either of t h e s e taxa m a y b e seen in this spring fed sand or peat. A plant with a long s t e m and a panicle of over 40cm is p r o b a b l y subsp. altissima: and a taller t h a n a v e r a g e plant y o u recognise as the c o m m o n var. caerulea m a y be the var. viridiflora with g r e e n lemmas.

Molinia caerulea (L.) Height of culm Length of panicle Lemmas

Subsp. altissima 6 5 - 1 2 5 ( - 1 5 0 ) cm 3 0 - 5 0 ( - 6 5 ) cm Light to dark violet

var. viridiflora 4 0 - 8 5 ( - 1 0 0 ) cm 8 - 3 2 ( - 3 5 ) cm Light to dark green

References Trist, P. J. O . (1986). Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea ( S c h r a n k ) H . Paul, a s u b s p . of P u r p l e Moor-grass. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc.,22, 57. Seil, P. D . & Trist, P. J. O . (1988). T w o subspecies of Molinia caerulea (L.) M o e n c h in t h e British Isles. Watsonia 17,153. P. J. O . Trist, 28 High S t r e e t , Balsham, C a m b r i d g e , C B 1 6DJ

Trans. Suffolk

Nat. Soc. 26 (1990)

Molinia caerulea subsp. altissima (Link) Domin - a Purple Moor-grass  

Trist, P. J. O.

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