Two Carnivorous Plants

There are only three types of carnivorous plants native to the UK and last weekend I spent a day by Megget Reservoir in the Scottish Borders looking for two of them … the Sundew and Butterwort.
The area around Megget and Talla Reservoirs is a place I never get tired of visiting. Once you get away from the surprisingly busy single-track road running through the valley it can feel quite remote. The ground can be very boggy or rough, and this time of year has some great colours with the fire grass growing in the valley.

Talla Moss with fire grass

Talla Moss with fire grass

Talla Water with Nickies Knowe

Talla Water with Nickies Knowe

Sundews are tiny, and quite easy to miss if you don’t know what to look for. They live in wet habitats where the acidic conditions limits the amount of nutrients they can take from the ground. These plants supplement their diet by catching and digesting insects. The round leaves have hair-like tendrils with glistening droplets that are very sticky to passing insects.
This plant was used to create a potion said to be the source of strength, virility and longevity which resulted in an alternative name for it – youthwort.

Round Leaf Sundews

Round Leaf Sundews

Photographing small plants that grow in such wet conditions can be a challenge. Even after laying down on a waterproof sheet, I ended up getting soaked with muddy black knees and hands. It also took me sometime to find plants I could get a decent low angle at without submerging the camera in the mud.

Watching my camera bag slowly sinking into the boggy ground when I thought it was safe on a dry raised mound, and frequently catching my diffuser panel before the wind took it across the valley are all parts of the outdoor photography experience I enjoy.

Round Leaf Sundews

Round Leaf Sundews

Round Leaf Sundew

Round Leaf Sundew

Round Leaf Sundews

Round Leaf Sundews

Butterwort is easier to spot due to its size and bright yellow-green leaves. They excrete a sticky fluid, which attracts unsuspecting insects and traps them by slowly curling around their prey. I’ve never seen them move like this even though I’ve watched insects sticking to the leaves, so it must happen very slowly.
It was thought to have magical properties and the juices from the leaves were rubbed onto cows’ udders in order to protect the milk from evil.

Sundews and Butterwort

Sundews and Butterwort

The third Carnivorous plant found in the UK is the Bladderwort, which is found in deep, still fresh water. It has no roots, and instead catches insects in bladders under the water. I haven’t found any around the Scottish Borders yet, and can’t help thinking I’m going to be getting wet again trying.

 

Advertisements

About Stuart Scott Images

Stuart Scott is a photographer based in the Scottish Borders. Born and brought up in Wales, Stuart spent much of his childhood around animals and birds, as well as exploring the local countryside where he learnt to enjoy and respect the natural world. He developed a keen interest in photography whilst studying for a Fine Art degree, and in the following years used and explored photography in his work. Since moving to Scotland Stuart has tried to concentrate his photography to within a few miles of his home. As well as following the local wildlife and exploring the Scottish Borders, he has begun a long-term project on the landscape and life of Lauderdale. Stuart's work has been exhibited in a number of places including with Scottish Natural Heritage, Edinburgh Zoo and the Scottish Sea Bird Centre. He recently won The Mammal Society's Mammal Photographer of the Year 2014 Competition. Stuart lives near Lauder with his wife and son.
This entry was posted in Landscape, Plants, wildlife and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s