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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

30 July, 2015

Trailing Tormentil: a botanical torment | Nature Notes from Dorset

I find having an all round interest in nature presents me with some difficult challenges! The same would be true for the casual observer or the budding naturalist starting out. The difference between some species is very small indeed and expert knowledge is needed to sort them out. This is true with botany, entomology, ornithology; indeed most nature related 'oligies'. 
So it is with this species, one could say differentiating trailing tormentil (Potentilla anglica) from tormentil is something of a torment for the non-specialist botanist! These are very similar plants and occur in similar habitats so just what is the difference? Trailing tormentil has a slightly larger flower than tormentil, they are about the same size as the flowers of the similar creeping cinquefoil. In addition, the leaves on tormentil have virtually no stalks and so are attached almost directly to the stem whereas in trailing tormentil the leaves are stalked; short stalks on the top leaves and longer stalks below. Easy? Well not quite, because creeping cinquefoil has stalked leaves and a very similar flower 

Read more: Trailing Tormentil: a botanical torment | Nature Notes from Dorset