Lathyrus aphaca   Yellow Vetchling R DD N?

Lathyrus aphaca whole Lathyrus aphaca flower Lathyrus aphaca bracts

This rare plant is doubtfully native in the British Isles according to Stace. The small yellow flower arises from a long pedicel (flower stalk) and a stem where the leaves have been modified into tendrils. What look like leaves are actually oval bracts. The bracts look like a pair of clapping hands and this helps to identify this small vetchling which was easily missed in the long grass. On the continent of Europe this plant is larger and the flowers sometimes a paler shade of yellow.

Records for this plant are concentrated in the south east of England but it has been noted from northern england and even southern Scotland in the past. There are a few old records from both Wales and Ireland too but the frequency and density of sites appears to be reducing.

Ham River Lands by River Thames near Teddington, London, 7th July 2007

Added on 9th July 2007