Mousetail - Myosurus minimus
An annual plant in the Buttercup family, forming a small tuft up to about 12 cm tall. The leaves are linear and narrow, sometimes threadlike, and up to 6 cm in length. The inflorescence produces a single flower which has an elongated, cylindrical or cone-shaped receptacle up to 4 cm long. At the base of the receptacle are curving, spurred sepals, five petals up to 3 mm long, and 10 stamens.
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Associated with seasonally flooded, nutrient-rich soils in areas disturbed by machinery or animals, such as hollows on ploughed land, rutted tracks and gateways in pastures.
Flowering mid-April to June.
Annual. The small flower’s almost tubular petals are visited by flies, but Mousetail often has to pollinate itself. As the seeds ripen the gynoecium and receptacle extend, becoming tens of times larger than before, and at this stage there is no doubt about where the plant got its name: its similarity to a mouse’s scaly tail is obvious. The plant has a marvellous seed production and can reproduce quickly in a favourable environment.
Status is uncertain as numbers of plants may vary from year to year and it is easily overlooked. However, in common with many annuals of arable land, it is thought to be in decline and may be vulnerable. Records indicate that it is most frequent in the southern half of Britain.
Rare, or rarely recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in only 1 of the 617 tetrads.
Leicestershire & Rutland Map
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