West Highland Flora

Early Wintercress


Barbarea intermedia

 

Barbarea intermedia

Photo Carl Farmer
16 Jul 2003 Portree, Skye

Occasional and increasing on disturbed ground

Flower diameter c 5-7 mm.  Fruits c 15-35 mm long.

ID: Barbarea genus easily told by very dark leaves, the basal ones having a large end lobe and several narrower side lobes, plus the dense elongated flowerhead with 4-petalled yellow flowers and long narrow upright fruit pods.  B intermedia is told from B vulgaris in fruit by the style being 0.6-1.7 mm long (average around 1 mm) rather than 1.7-4.0 mm long (average around 2.5 mm).  This measurement is from the tip of the fruit valves to the very tip of the fruit (the bit beyond the valves being the style).  Also the fruit stalk in B intermedia is almost as broad as the fruit itself; in B vulgaris it is much narrower.

Other features: In the absence of pods, the best distinction is to examine the shape of the top few leaves, including any that may seem small enough to count as "bracts" rather than leaves.  In B intermedia these normally have 2-3 lobes on each side, and the end segment beyond the lobes is not a lot broader than the leaf width nearer the base.  In B vulgaris there are normally 1-2 lobes per side, and the end segment is large with bulging sides.  But it can often seem to be a matter of which leaves you count as the "uppermost" ones, and it is better to wait until the plants fruit to be certain.  The books totally contradict themselves and each other in their descriptions of these upper leaves, and I don't have enough experience to know which is right.  I took the detailed leaf pictures below in the hope of finding someone who could tell me which species they belonged to, but now that I've found out where you're meant to measure the style from, I know the plants concerned are B intermedia.

Starts flowering in March, earlier than B vulgaris.

 

Barbarea intermedia

Photo Carl Farmer
16 Jul 2003 Portree, Skye

 

Barbarea intermedia

Photo Carl Farmer
3 Aug 2003 Portree, Skye
1,2,3,4 etc on ruler are centimetres



Barbarea intermedia

Photo Carl Farmer
3 Aug 2003 Portree, Skye
1,2,3,4 etc on ruler are centimetres

This picture shows the top 10 leaves/bracts from the stem in the picture above it.



Barbarea intermedia

Photo Carl Farmer
3 Aug 2003 Portree, Skye
Ultimate divisions of ruler 1 mm

Thin bits to left are simply bits of stem that came away when fruit torn off.
Fruit stalks are the fat dark bits between these and the fruits proper.
Styles are at RH end, about 1 mm long from tip of fruit valves.

 

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