Bristly oxtongue (Picris echioides)

Bristly oxtongue is usually a tall plant, branching, with bright yellow flowers, either an annual or a biennial, and bristly rather than prickly. Each bristle grows out of a pimple on the plant’s leaves or the stems.

It prefers lowland sites with moist ground and in the park was found growing next to the Lambrok Tributary. It is believed to be native to the Mediterranean Basin but has become widely naturalised outside that range. In the last couple of decades, perhaps as a response to our warming climate, it has become widespread and quite common in southern and eastern England.

Bristly Oxtongue flowers right through the autumn, one of the park’s valuable sources of nectar for invertebrates preparing for winter.

Photographs by Suzanne Humphries

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